Gomel is the administrative center of the Gomel region. Gomel was
founded in 1142; it became part of the Russian Empire during the
first partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772. In
1775, Catherine II presented Gomel to the famous Russian commander
P.A.Rumyantsev-Zadunaisky, who instead of a wooden fortress built a
palace - the main attraction of the city. In 1834, the city was
bought by Prince I.F.Paskevich-Erivansky. One should not be
surprised at the seeming absurdity of the previous phrases: Gomel
began to grow seriously only in the second half of the 19th century,
until that time it remained, in essence, a village.
The main attractions are concentrated in the central part of the city: in the triangle of Pobedy — Sovetskaya — Lenin streets, diverging from the railway station, and on the embankment of the Sozh River.
International airport "Gomel" (IATA: GME) until February 2011 served daily regular flights of AN-24 aircraft from Minsk and Kaliningrad. There are currently no flights. The airline "Gomelavia" operates charter and cargo flights.
Trains run through the Gomel railway station, which can be reached from many cities of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Long-distance trains to Gomel can be reached from Minsk, Moscow (via Smolensk or Bryansk), St. Petersburg, Grodno, Brest, Polotsk (via Vitebsk), Kaliningrad, Shchors, Chernigov, Adler (via Voronezh). Trailed direct cars follow from Volgograd, Adler (via Kharkov), Murmansk, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk. Also, on passing trains (seasonal or year-round), Gomel is connected, in addition to the listed cities, with Odessa, Simferopol, Kiev, Anapa, Evpatoria, Kislovodsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson and Feodosia.
Gomel bus station serves both suburban and intercity communication. Bus routes connect the city with all regional centers of the republic, except for Grodno, as well as with all cities in the region. International flights are carried out to the cities: Chernigov, Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, Truskavets, Moscow, Brest, Kursk, Oryol, Novozybkov, Klimovo, Klintsy, Bremen, Frankfurt am Main, Tiraspol, Poltava, Kharkov, Nikolaev.
Gomel is located in the northern part of the Dnieper lowland.
According to the physical-geographical zoning, most of the suburban
area and the city itself are within the northeastern part of the
physical-geographical region of Gomel Polesie - an integral part of
the sub-province of Belarusian Polesie. From the northwest, the
physico-geographical region Checherskaya Plain, which belongs to the
Predpoleskaya province, is close to the city.
Geology and tectonics
Gomel is located within the southwestern slope of the Voronezh anteclise, an uplifted tectonic structure within the Russian plate of the East European platform. The crystalline basement lies at a depth of 450-550 meters below sea level. The platform cover (600-700 m thick) is composed of Paleozoic (100-120 m thick, Middle Devonian clays, sandstones, marls and dolomites), Mesozoic (400-420 m, Triassic sandy-clay formations, clays, sands and limestones of the Jurassic period) marl-chalk and sandy-argillaceous deposits of the Cretaceous period) and Cenozoic (30-50 m, glauconite-quartz sands of the Paleogene, sands and sandy loam with gravel-pebble material of the anthropogen) eras.
The territory on which Gomel is located, after the formation of the crystalline cover in the Archean - Early Proterozoic, remained dry land until the Middle Devonian. In the Middle Devonian, it was flooded and then repeatedly drained and re-flooded by the sea. Volcanic activity was noted in the Late Devonian. The Quaternary period was characterized by the advance on the territory of Belarus of several glaciers, from which the ice of the Berezinsky and Dnieper glaciations reached Gomel. In the interglacial (Alexandrian, Shklovskoe, etc.), the valley of the Sozh river was formed. The melted waters of the Sozh glaciation (considered to be the Dnieper stage) deposited material that formed a vast sandy wooded plain - Polesie.
Mineral resources and relief
On the territory of the city of Gomel, large reserves of fresh hydrocarbonate (in the Cenozoic and Cretaceous) and mineralized sulfate-chloride sodium waters (in the Devonian and Triassic) were found. The latter are mined and used as medicinal. The Osovtsovskoye sand deposit is located on the southwestern outskirts of Gomel.
The relief of the city is generally flat. It is represented by a gently undulating water-glacial plain and a floodplain Sozh terrace in the right-bank part and a low-lying alluvial plain and the left-bank part. The slope of the relief from north to south (the highest mark 144 m above sea level is located on the northern outskirts of Gomel; the lowest is 115 m - the water edge of the Sozh River. The left-bank Novobelitsky district has elevation marks on average 10-15 m lower than the northern and central There are many kilometers of beaches in the floodplain on the left bank of the Sozh.
Climate and inland waters
Gomel's climate is moderately continental. It is characterized by warm summers and mild winters, which are caused by the frequent bringing of warm sea air masses from the Atlantic by the prevailing western transport. The annual total radiation is 3980 MJ / m² (95.1 kcal / cm²), which is about 5% more than in Minsk.
The average annual air temperature in Gomel is +7.4 ° C. the absolute minimum in January is −35.0 ° C (January 31, 1970), the absolute maximum is +9.6 ° C (January 11, 2007). The month with the highest average temperature is July 2010 (+ 24.5 ° C), the month with the lowest average temperature is February 1929 (-17.1 ° C). During the winter, there are up to 40 thaw days, when during the daytime the air temperature rises above 0 ° C, and about 30 days with an average daily temperature below -10 ° C. The average July temperature is + 19.9 ° C. The absolute maximum is +38.9 ° C (August 8, 2010), the absolute minimum is +6.0 ° C (July 18, 1978). Over the summer, there are over 30 hot days with an average daily temperature above +20 ° C. The growing season lasts an average of 205 days from April 3 to October 26 (when the air temperature is above +5 ° C).
Average annual atmospheric pressure at the station level (125 m above sea level) is 1001.5 hPa (751 mm Hg). The annual amplitude is about 6 hPa (4.5 mm Hg). The maximum pressure observed in Gomel is 1037 hPa (778 mm Hg, February 1972), the lowest is 960 hPa (720 mm Hg, February 1946).
Southerly winds prevail in winter, westerly and northwesterly in
summer. The average annual speed is 2.5 m / s, in winter 2.8-2.9 m /
s, in summer 2.1-2.2 m / s. Strong winds, when the speed increases
to 15 m / s, are observed on average 1-2 times a month, destructive
winds with a speed higher than 25 m / s - once every 20 years.
Annual precipitation is 626 mm on average. About 70% of precipitation falls during the warm period from April to October. The average annual precipitation time is 1200 hours, the average number of days with precipitation is 200, with snow cover - 85. Stable occurrence of snow cover from December 20 to March 15, height on average up to 10 cm. 62% of the annual precipitation falls in liquid form , 28% - in solid, 10% - in mixed. The highest monthly rainfall is 236 mm (July 2000), the lowest monthly rainfall is 2 mm (November 2014).
Relative humidity in the cold period over 80%. During the daytime, during the warm period, it decreases to 50-60%. Gomel has an average of 143 cloudy and 31 clear days a year. The rest of the days are semi-clear. The average annual sunshine duration is 1855 hours. The average number of days with snowstorms per year is 6, maximum 54, with fogs 43 and 79, thunderstorms 25 and 54, with hail 2 and 5. During the year there are 5 days with ice and 5 days with frost.
Surface waters are represented by rivers, lakes, ponds. The navigable river Sozh, one of the largest rivers in Belarus, flows through the city. Within the city limits, the Iput River flows into it. In the suburban area of Gomel, the rivers Ut, Uza and Teryukha flow into the Sozh. In the Sozh floodplain, within the city limits, there are several old-time lakes (Lyubenskoye, Volotovskoye and others). In the northern part of the city, there are numerous ponds formed in quarries for the extraction of construction materials. They are actively used by the townspeople as places of rest. In the Gomel park there is the oldest in Gomel "Swan Pond", built on the site of the Gomeyuk stream flowing and flowing into the Sozh, from whose name, according to one version, the name of the city originated.
Soils, vegetation and fauna
The natural soil cover of Gomel has been significantly transformed. Natural soils are replaced by urbozems with mixed horizons, parent rocks, crushed stone, sand, etc. In squares, parks and flower beds, the soil cover has been cultivated. Of the relatively undisturbed soils found within the city and its environs, sod-podzolic swampy soils in places prevail, developing on water-glacial sandy-silty loess-like sandy loams; there are sod and sod-calcareous, alluvial and peat-boggy soils.
The predominant tree species in forests, parks, squares and streets are Scots pine, European spruce, English oak, Norway maple, Common horse chestnut, Common ash, Small-leaved linden, Black, white and trembling poplar (aspen), Common mountain ash, willows. Such species as red oak, prickly spruce, Engelmann spruce, European larch, robinia pseudoacacia, Schrenk spruce, balsam fir, etc. have been introduced; Central Park contains ginkgo, cork, and other exotic species. Spontaneous urban vegetation is represented mainly by communities of the classes Plantaginetea majoris, Robinietea, and Artemisietea vulgaris; floodplain meadows belong to the class Molinio-Arrhenatheretea.
In Gomel and its environs, 66 species of mammals, 188 species of birds, 6 species of reptiles, 11 species of amphibians, and about 25 species of fish are recorded. On the outskirts of the city, European hedgehog, roe deer, and wild boar are not uncommon. Squirrels, hares, and moles are frequent in parks and forest plantations. Of the birds, the common house sparrow, jackdaw, crow, pigeons, tits, storks can be found in the suburban area.
The main environmental problems of Gomel include radioactive contamination, pollution of the atmosphere, soil and water with chemical elements, insufficient landscaping of the territory. Environmental problems are mainly due to the position of Gomel as a large industrial center.
Gomel is in the zone of contamination (for cesium-137) from 1 to 5 ku / km² (zone of residence with periodic radiation monitoring). The resettlement and exclusion zone begins 20 km south-west of the city.
The air pollution index in Gomel is high and amounts to 5.0 (third place in Belarus after Mogilev and Grodno). The main pollutants are formaldehyde, hydrogen fluoride, phenol, ammonia, carbon monoxide. The main sources of pollution are motor vehicles, the timber industry, the production of mineral fertilizers (Gomel chemical plant), heat power engineering (Gomel CHP-1, Gomel CHP-2, etc.). An increase in the average annual carbon monoxide content is observed, which is explained by an increase in traffic intensity. The average concentrations of other harmful substances are reduced.
The most polluted air is in the western part of the city, in the
zone of influence of the Gomel Chemical Plant, CHPP-2, ZLiN,
factories of building materials, trade equipment and concrete goods,
as well as in the center near the railway station, where the traffic
load is high. The south of the right-bank part and the Novobelitskiy
region are the least polluted. The location of the Gomel Chemical
Plant and CHPP-2 on the western outskirts of the city in the context
of the prevailing western transport significantly aggravates the
problem of air pollution. In addition, the most acute environmental
problem is the presence of a toxic waste landfill at a chemical
plant located near the city limits. The accumulation of
phosphogypsum (a waste product from the production of phosphate
fertilizers) has so far amounted to about 15-20 million tons.
Phosphogypsum has an unpleasant odor, is carried by the wind over
considerable distances, intensively pollutes groundwater and leads
to the degradation of adjacent forest biogeocenoses.
The pollution of the waters of the Sozh River near Gomel is characterized as moderate (WPI = 1.1-1.9). The average annual concentration of ammonium nitrogen is about 5 MPC, phenols, iron and zinc - about 2 MPC, organic substances, nitrate nitrogen, phosphates, copper, nickel, oil products, synthetic surfactants - does not exceed the MPC.
The degree of landscaping in Gomel is 19.5%, which is significantly lower than the urban planning and environmental standards of Belarus (40-45%)