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In central Velizh
In central Velizh
Coat of arms of Velizh
Coat of arms
Location of Velizh
Velizh is located in Russia
Location of Velizh
Velizh is located in Smolensk Oblast
Velizh (Smolensk Oblast)
Coordinates: 55°36′N 31°11′E / 55.600°N 31.183°E / 55.600; 31.183Coordinates: 55°36′N 31°11′E / 55.600°N 31.183°E / 55.600; 31.183
Federal subjectSmolensk Oblast[1]
Administrative districtVelizhsky District[1]
Urban settlementVelizhskoye[1]
Founded1536Edit this on Wikidata
 • Total226.62 km2 (87.50 sq mi)
160 m (520 ft)
 • Total7,620
 • Density34/km2 (87/sq mi)
 • Administrative center ofVelizhsky District[1], Velizhskoye Urban Settlement[1]
 • Municipal districtVelizhsky Municipal District[3]
 • Urban settlementVelizhskoye Urban Settlement[3]
 • Administrative center ofVelizhsky Municipal District[3], Velizhskoye Urban Settlement[4]
Time zoneMSK (UTC+03:00)[5]
Postal code(s)[6]
216290, 216291
OKATO ID66203501000

Velizh (Russian: Ве́лиж; Belarusian: Веліж; Polish: Wieliż; Lithuanian: Veližas) is a town and the administrative center of Velizhsky District in Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the bank of the Western Dvina, 134 kilometers (83 mi) from Smolensk, the administrative center of the oblast. Population: 7,620 (2010 Census);[2] 8,343 (2002 Census);[7] 9,146 (1989 Census).[8]


Historical affiliations
Grand Duchy of Lithuania late 14th cent.–1536

Grand Duchy of Moscow 1536–1547
Tsardom of Russia 1547–1582
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth 1582–1772
 Russian Empire 1772–1917
Russia Russian Republic 1917
Soviet Russia 1917–1922
 Soviet Union 1922–1991

 Russian Federation 1991–present

In the late 14th century, it used to be a border fortress of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Muscovy recaptured it in 1536, but it was restored to Lithuania in the 1582 Truce of Yam-Zapolsky. The town was returned to Russia under the terms of the First Partition of Poland. The houses of Nikolay Przhevalsky and Alexander Rodzyanko in the proximity to Velizh are open to the public as museums.

After the First Partition of Poland in 1772 the area was included into newly established Pskov Governorate, a giant administrative unit comprising what is currently Pskov Oblast and a considerable part of Belarus. After 1773, the area belonged to Velizhsky Uyezd of Pskov Governorate. In 1777, it was transferred to Polotsk Viceroyalty. In 1796, the viceroyalty was abolished and the area was transferred to Byelorussia Governorate; since 1802 to Vitebsk Governorate. Between July and October 1812, Velizh was occupied by the army of Napoleon advancing to Moscow. In 1924, Vitebsk Governorate was abolished, and Velizhsky Uyezds was transferred to Pskov Governorate.[9]

In April 1823, Velizh was the site of a famous blood libel incident, in which local Jews were wrongly accused of the murder of Christian boy who was found dead in a field. Based on the testimony of a drunk prostitute, over forty Jews were arrested and in 1826 the synagogues were closed. Some of the accused were not released until 1835.[10]

On 1 August 1927, governorates were abolished, and Velizhsky District with the center in Velizh was established. It belonged to Velikiye Luki Okrug of Leningrad Oblast. On June 17, 1929, Velizhsky District was transferred to Western Oblast. On 23 July 1930, the okrugs were also abolished and the districts were directly subordinated to the oblast. On 17 September 1937, Western Oblast was abolished, and the district was transferred to Smolensk Oblast.[11] During World War II, between July 1941 and September 1943, Velizhsky District was occupied by German troops.[9]

Much of the town was destroyed during World War II. During the war, Velizh was occupied by the German Army from July 14, 1941 to September 20, 1943. In September 1942, German occupation forces murdered all but 17 of the town's 1,440 Jewish residents.[12][13]

On 1 February 1963, during the abortive Khrushchyov administrative reform, Velizhsky District was merged into Demidovsky District, but on 12 January 1965 it was re-established.[11]

Administrative and municipal status[edit]

Within the framework of administrative divisions, Velizh serves as the administrative center of Velizhsky District.[1] As an administrative division, it is, together with seventeen rural localities, incorporated within Velizhsky District as Velizhskoye Urban Settlement.[1] As a municipal division, this administrative unit also has urban settlement status and is a part of Velizhsky Municipal District.[3]



In 2013, 35% of the industrial output of Velizhsky district was made by enterprises of textile industry, 17% by timber industry, and 10% by food industry. Most of these enterprises are located in Velizh.[14]


Paved roads connect Velizh with Smolensk, Nevel via Usvyaty, and Vitebsk. There are also local roads with bus traffic originating from Velizh.

The closest railway station is in Rudnya, on the railway connecting Smolensk with Vitebsk.

Culture and recreation[edit]

Velizh contains twenty-nine cultural heritage monuments of federal significance and additionally one object classified as cultural and historical heritage of local significance, which is an archaeological site.[15]

There is a local museum in Velizh.[16]

Notable people[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Resolution #261
  2. ^ a b Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  3. ^ a b c d Law #88-z
  4. ^ Федеральная служба государственной статистики. Федеральное агентство по технологическому регулированию и метрологии. №ОК 033-2013 1 января 2014 г. «Общероссийский классификатор территорий муниципальных образований. Код 66 603 101». (Federal State Statistics Service. Federal Agency on Technological Regulation and Metrology. #OK 033-2013 January 1, 2014 Russian Classification of Territories of Municipal Formations. Code 66 603 101. ).
  5. ^ Правительство Российской Федерации. Федеральный закон №107-ФЗ от 3 июня 2011 г. «Об исчислении времени», в ред. Федерального закона №368-ФЗ от 11 октября 2018 г. «О внесении изменений в статью 5 Федерального закона "Об исчислении времени"». Вступил в силу по истечении шестидесяти дней после дня официального опубликования (6 августа 2011 г.). Опубликован: "Российская газета", №120, 6 июня 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Federal Law #107-FZ of June 31, 2011 On Calculating Time, as amended by the Federal Law #368-FZ of October 11, 2018 On Amending Article 5 of the Federal Law "On Calculating Time". Effective as of after sixty days following the day of the official publication.).
  6. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  7. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (21 May 2004). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек" [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  8. ^ "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров" [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 – via Demoscope Weekly.
  9. ^ a b "Историческая справка" (in Russian). Velizhsky District administration. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  10. ^ Jewish Virtual Library. Entry on Velizh
  11. ^ a b Парфенов, Борис; Ольга Хоренженкова. "К истории формирования Смоленской области" (in Russian). Smolensk. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  12. ^ Jewish Telegraphic Agency. "Only Seventeen Jews Escape Massacre by Nazis in Russian Town of Velizh". September 9, 1942.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Инвестиционный паспорт Велижского района" (PDF) (in Russian). Velizhsky District Administration. 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  15. ^ Памятники истории и культуры народов Российской Федерации (in Russian). Russian Ministry of Culture. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Муниципальное бюджетное учреждение культуры "Велижский районный историко-краеведческий музей"" (in Russian). Velizh Historical Museum. Retrieved 9 May 2016.


  • Администрация Смоленской области. Постановление №261 от 30 апреля 2008 г. «Об утверждении реестра административно-территориальных единиц и территориальных единиц Смоленской области», в ред. Постановления №464 от 27 июня 2014 г. «О внесении изменений в реестр административно-территориальных единиц и территориальных единиц Смоленской области». Опубликован: База данных "Консультант-плюс". (Administration of Smolensk Oblast. Resolution #261 of April 30, 2008 On the Adoption of the Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Units and Territorial Units of Smolensk Oblast, as amended by the Resolution #464 of June 27, 2014 On Amending the Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Units and Territorial Units of Smolensk Oblast. ).
  • Смоленская областная Дума. Закон №88-з от 2 декабря 2004 г. «О наделении статусом муниципального района муниципального образования "Велижский район" Смоленской области, об установлении границ муниципальных образований, территории которых входят в его состав, и наделении их соответствующим статусом», в ред. Закона №117-з от 30 ноября 2011 г. «О внесении изменений в областной Закон "О наделении статусом муниципального района муниципального образования "Велижский район" Смоленской области, об установлении границ муниципальных образований, территории которых входят в его состав, и наделении их соответствующим статусом"». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Вестник Смоленской областной Думы и Администрации Смоленской области", №12, часть II, стр. 359, 5 декабря 2004 г. (Smolensk Oblast Duma. Law #88-z of December 2, 2004 On Granting the Status of the Municipal District to the Municipal Formation of "Velizhsky District" of Smolensk Oblast, on Establishing the Borders of the Municipal Formations Whose Territories It Comprises, and on Granting Them Appropriate Status, as amended by the Law #117-z of November 30, 2011 On Amending the Oblast Law "On Granting the Status of the Municipal District to the Municipal Formation of "Velizhsky District" of Smolensk Oblast, on Establishing the Borders of the Municipal Formations Whose Territories It Comprises, and on Granting Them Appropriate Status". Effective as of the official publication date.).

External links[edit]