Mstislaw or Mstislavl (Belarusian: Мсціслаў, Mscisłaŭ [pronounced [msʲt͡sʲiˈsɫau̯] (listen)], Russian: Мстиславль [msʲtʲɪˈslavlʲ],[1][2] Polish: Mścisław, Lithuanian: Mstislavlis) is a town in the Mogilev Region, Eastern Belarus. It serves as the administrative center of Mstsislaw District. As of 2009, its population was 10,804.[3]

The trading arcade, 19th century
The trading arcade, 19th century
Flag of Mstsislaw
Coat of arms of Mstsislaw
Mstsislaw is located in Belarus
Location of Mstsislaw, shown within the Mahilyow Voblast
Coordinates: 54°1′N 31°43′E / 54.017°N 31.717°E / 54.017; 31.717
Country Belarus
RegionMogilev Region
DistrictsMstsislaw District
First mention1156
 • Total10,804
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
License plate6


Mstislavl was first mentioned in the Ipatiev Chronicle in 1156. It was initially a part of the Principality of Smolensk, but had become the capital of the Principality of Mstislavl by 1180. In the Middle Ages, it was the family seat of Princes Mstislavsky. Pyotr Mstislavets is believed to have been born in Mstislavl.

In 1377, it was conquered by the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The first Lithuanian duke of Mstislavl was Karigaila, brother of Jogaila. The town remained part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth under the Mścisław Voivodship until the Partitions of Poland in 1772.

Buildings of historic interest include the Carmelite church (1637, renovated 1746–50) and the Jesuit cathedral (1640, renovated 1730–38, turned into an Orthodox cathedral in 1842).

Jews had a historic presence in the town. In 1939, there were 2,067 Jews living in Mstislavl which represented almost 20% of the local population. The German army occupied the town in July 1941. In early October, they killed 30 elderly Jews. On October 15, 1941, together with the local police, they murdered from 850 to 1,300 Jews.[4]

It is the birthplace of Jewish historian and writer Simon Dubnow, Jewish statesman and Communist politician Yakov Chubin, and expressionist artist Abraham A. Manievich, among others.


  1. ^ "Official website of the district" (in Russian). Mstsislaw District. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  2. ^ "Website of Mogilyov Region administration" (in Russian). Mogilyov Obl;ast Administration. 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  3. ^ Численность населения областей и районов: Могилевская (PDF) (in Russian). Национальный статистический комитет Республики Беларусь. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  4. ^ "YAHAD - IN UNUM". Retrieved 21 October 2018.

External linksEdit