Rechytsa town centre, Kastrychnitskaya (October) Square
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|Area code(s)||+375 2340|
|Website||Official website (in Russian)|
Rechytsa (Belarusian: Рэчыца, pronounced [ˈrɛtʂɨtsa]; Russian: Речица; Polish: Rzeczyca; Lithuanian: Rečyca) is a city in the Gomel Region of Belarus. It is center of Rechytsa District. The city is situated at the mouth of Rechytsa River, flowing into the Dnieper. As of 2005[update] the population was 65,532.
Rechytsa is one of the oldest towns of Belarus. First settlements in this region are dated back to the epoch of mesolite (9–5th centuries B.C.). Later on the area was inhabited by the Dregovichi tribe. The town was first mentioned in the Novgorod chronicle in 1213 as a town of the Chernihiv Principality. Rechytsa was also ruled by Kiev and Turov Grand Dukes. At the time of Gediminas reign (1311–1341) the town was annexed to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Rečyca as well as Orsha, Shklow, Mogilev, Stary Bychaw and Rahachow formed a well-developed frontier defense system at the River Dniepr.
1392–1430 – the reign of Grand Duke Vytautas. He constructed a fortified castle with five towers in the area of the detinets (old Belarusian for the downtown) on the bank of the Dniepr. At that time the town had three fortification lines in the form of water trenches and ramparts with bastions. In the area between the fortress and the second fortification line there was a territory for rich mansions, Church of the Order of Friars Preachers and a trade square. The town inhabitants settled lived between the second and third fortification lines. The construction of the town had clear right-angled forms.
In 1561 the town was partially granted the Magdeburg rights.
In the middle of the 17th century Rechytsa was practically destroyed during the Cossack war of 1648–1651. After the Truce of Anrusovo the town became a part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1793 Rechytsa joined Russia and became an used center of the Minsk province.
The first permanent town plan of Rechytsa was approved in 1800. During the Napoleon Wars in 1812 the town was a temporary residence of the Minsk governor. Rechytsa (Retschschutz) was occupied by Napoleon's Immense Armee in some of 1812, fought over by Whites and Reds, 1917-1922, occupied by Central Powers Forces C. 1917-1918 and by Hitler's Axis, 1941-1943/4.
Rechytsa had one of the oldest Jewish communities in Belarus, and later the town was a center for Chabad Hasidic Jews. In 1648, Cossacks murdered many of its Jews. The town's Jewish population in 1766 numbered 133, increasing to 1,268 in 1800 (two thirds of the total population), and 2,080 in 1847. By 1897 the town's Jewish population grew to 5,334, which constituted 57 percent of the general population. On the eve of World War I the Jewish population is thought to have numbered some 7,500.
World War Two
During World War Two, the Germans occupied the town on August 23, 1941 and in November all 3,000 remaining Jews were gathered in a ghetto. On November 25 the Jews were murdered by the Nazis. Following the war, a few Jews returned to Rechytsa. The town had no synagogue, and in 1970 the Jewish population was estimated at about 1,000. In the 1990s most Jews of the town emigrated to Israel and the West.
- early 1900s? – 1.77 thousand
- 2005 – 65.5 thousand
- 2006 – 65.4 thousand
- 2007 – 65.3 thousand
- 2010 – 64.7 thousand
Rechytsa products are well known in the CIS member-states as well as in other countries. Rechyca produces watercrafts, furniture, beer, which are exported to England, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and several African countries.