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Country  Ukraine
Founded  13th century
Time zone  EET (UTC+2)
Population  69,342 (2015)
Oblast  Volyn Oblast
Magdeburg law  1518
Area  50 km²
Local time  Saturday 12:43 AM
Kovel ukrainetrekcomimageskovelukrainecityviews2jpg
Raion  Kovel City Municipality
Weather  6°C, Wind SW at 16 km/h, 77% Humidity

Kovel (Ukrainian: Ко́вель; Russian: Ковель, translit. Kovel’, Polish: Kowel, Yiddish: קאָוועל‎) is a town in Volyn Oblast (province), in northwestern Ukraine. Serving as the administrative center of Kovel Raion (district), the town itself is designated as a town of oblast significance and is not part of the raion. Population: 69,342 (2015 est.)


Map of Kovel', Volyn Oblast, Ukraine

Kovel gives its name to one of the oldest Runic inscriptions which were lost during World War II. The Kovel spearhead, unearthed near the town in 1858, contained text in Gothic language (illustration).


Kovel (Kowel) was first mentioned in 1310. It received city rights from the Polish King Sigismund I the Old in 1518. In 1547 the owner of Kowel became Bona Sforza, Polish queen. In 1564 starost of Kowel became Kurbski (d. 1584). From 1566 to 1795 it was part of the Volhynian Voivodeship. Kowel was a royal city of Poland.

After the Partitions of Poland the town fell into the Russian Empire for over a hundred years. During the First World War, the city was a site of the Battle of Kovel between the Central Powers and the Russian Empire. In the interwar period, Kovel served as the capital of Kovel County in Volhynian Voivodeship of the Polish Republic. It was an important garrison of the Polish Army, here the headquarters of the 27th Volhynian Infantry Division was located. Furthermore, at the village of Czerkasy, a large depot of the Polish Army was located. In 1924, construction of the St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr Roman Catholic church began.

In World War II, following the Nazi German invasion of Poland and subsequently, their Operation Barbarossa the Germans murdered 18,000 Jews in Kovel, mostly during August and September 1942.

About 8,000 Jews were murdered in the forest near Bakhiv on August 19, 1942 during the liquidation of the Kovel ghetto, established on May 25, 1942. Jewish victims were driven by train from Kovel to Bakhiv where pits were dug close to the railroads. Actually there were two ghettos, one within the city and another in the suburbs of Pyaski, both numbered about 24,000. The Jews from two ghettos were executed at different places and at different time.

Later on, in March and April 1944, Kovel was a site of fierce fighting between the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking and the Red Army.

During the Volhynian Genocide, the town was a shelter for ethnic Poles, escaping the genocide. In that period, Ukrainian nationalists murdered app. 3,700 Polish inhabitants of Kovel county. In early spring of 1944, the 27th Infantry Division of the Home Army operated in the area. Kovel was captured by the Red Army in July 1944. In 1945, at the insistence of Joseph Stalin (following the Tehran Conference of 1943) Poland's borders were redrawn, the Polish population was forcibly resettled and Kovel was incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. It has been a part of sovereign Ukraine since 1991.


Kovel is the north-western hub of the Ukrainian rail system, with six rail lines radiating outward from the city. The first of these was built in 1873, connecting the city with Brest-Litovsk and Rivne. In 1877 Kovel was first linked by rail with Lublin and Warsaw in Congress Poland.

Notable people

  • Lesya Ukrainka (1871–1913), Ukrainian poet
  • Abraham Zapruder (1905–1970), clothing manufacturer who filmed the Assassination of John F. Kennedy
  • Meir Auerbach (1815–1877), first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.
  • Israel Friedlander, rabbi, educator and biblical scholar
  • Kazimierz Dejmek, Polish actor, theatre and film director
  • Michal Waszynski, Polish (later American) film producer
  • Ryszard Horodecki, Polish physicist, professor of University of Gdańsk
  • Sister cities

    Kovel is twinned with


    Kovel Wikipedia