Podolia or Podilia (Ukrainian: Подíлля, Podillja, Russian: Подо́лье, Podolʹje, Turkish: Podolya, Polish: Podole, German: Podolien, Lithuanian: Podolė) is a historic region in Eastern Europe, located in the west-central and south-western parts of Ukraine and in northeastern Moldova (i.e. northern Transnistria). The name derives from Old Slavic po, meaning "by/next to/along" and dol, "valley" (see dale).


Medieval fortress in Kamianets-Podilskyi
Coat of arms of Podolia

Coat of arms
Podolia (yellow) in modern Ukraine
Podolia (yellow) in modern Ukraine
CountryUkraine, Moldova
RegionWest Ukraine, Central Ukraine
PartsTernopil Oblast, Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Vinnytsia Oblast, Odessa Oblast, Cherkasy Oblast


The area is part of the vast East European Plain, confined by the Dniester River and the Carpathian arc in the southwest. It comprises an area of about 40,000 km2 (15,000 sq mi), extending for 320 km (200 mi) from northwest to southeast on the left bank of the Dniester. In the same direction run two ranges of relatively low hills separated by the Southern Bug, ramifications of the Avratynsk heights. The Podolian Upland, an elongated, up to 472 ft (144 m) high plateau stretches from the Western and Southern Bug rivers to the Dniester, includes hill countries and mountainous regions with canyon-like fluvial valleys.

Podolia lies east of historic Red Ruthenia, i.e. the eastern half of Galicia, beyond the Seret River, a tributary of the Dniester. In the northwest it borders on Volhynia. It is made up of the present-day Ukrainian Vinnytsia Oblast and southern and central Khmelnytskyi Oblast. The Podolian lands further include parts of adjacent Ternopil Oblast in the west and Kiev Oblast in the northeast. In the east it consists of the neighbouring parts of Cherkasy, Kirovohrad and Odessa Oblasts, as well as the northern half of Transnistria.

Two large rivers, with numerous tributaries, drain the region: the Dniester, which forms its boundary with Moldova and is navigable throughout its length, and the Southern Bug, which flows almost parallel to the former in a higher, sometimes swampy, valley, interrupted in several places by rapids. The Dniester forms an important channel for trade in the areas of Mohyliv-Podilskyi, Zhvanets and other Podolian river-ports.

In Podolia, "black earth" (chernozem) soil predominates, making it a very fertile agricultural area. Marshes occur only beside the Bug. A moderate climate predominates, with average temperatures at Kamianets-Podilskyi of 9 °C (-4 °C in January, 20 °C in July).

Russian-ruled Podolia in 1906 had an estimated population of 3,543,700, consisting chiefly of Ukrainians. Significant minorities included Poles and Jews, as well as 50,000 Romanians, some Germans, and some Armenians.

The chief towns include Kamianets-Podilskyi, the traditional capital, Balta, Bar, Bratslav, Haisyn, Khmelnytskyi, Letychiv, Lityn, Mohyliv-Podilskyi, Nova Ushytsia, Olhopil, Skala-Podilska, Vinnytsia, and Yampil. In Moldova, the major Podolian cities are Camenca and Rîbniţa.

Podolia is known for its cherries, mulberries, melons, gourds, and cucumbers.


The country has had human inhabitants since at least the beginning of the Neolithic period. Herodotus mentions it as the seat of the Graeco-Scythian Alazones and possibly Scythian Neuri. Subsequently, the Dacians and the Getae arrived. The Romans left traces of their rule in Trajan's Wall, which stretches through the modern districts of Kamianets-Podilskyi, Nova Ushytsia and Khmelnytskyi.

During the Great Migration Period, many nationalities passed through this territory or settled within it for some time, leaving numerous traces in archaeological remains. Nestor in the Primary Chronicle mentions four apparently Slavic tribes: the Buzhans and Dulebes along the Southern Bug River, and the Tivertsi and Ulichs along the Dniester. The Avars invaded in the 7th century.

Kievan Rus' and Polish Crown

Prince Oleg of Kiev, extended his rule over this territory known as the Ponizie, or "lowlands." These lowlands later became a part of the Rus' principalities of Volhynia, Kiev, and Galicia. In the 13th century, Bakota served as its political and administrative centre. During that time, the Mongols plundered Ponizie; Algirdas (Olgierd), prince of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, freed it from their rule following his victory against the Golden Horde in the Battle of Blue Waters of 1362, annexing it to his own territories under the name of Podolia, which has the same meaning as Ponizie. Polish colonisation began in the 14th century.

After the death of the Lithuanian prince Vytautas (Vitovt) in 1430, Podolia was incorporated into Podolian Voivodeship of the Polish Crown, with the exception of its eastern part, the Province of Bratslav, which remained with Lithuania until its union with Poland in the Union of Lublin of 1569. From 1672, Podolia became part of the Ottoman Empire, when and where it was known as Podolia Eyalet. During this time, it was a province, with its center being Kamaniçe, and was divided into sanjaks of Kamaniçe, Bar, Mejibuji and Yazlovets (Yazlofça). It remained with the Ottoman Empire for a substantial period of time, only returning to the Polish regime in 1699. The Poles retained Podolia until the partitions of their country in 1772 and 1793, when the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy and Imperial Russia annexed the western and eastern parts respectively.

Russian Empire

J.H. 1 Podolia
Podolians, before 1878

From 1793–1917, part of the region was the Podolia Governorate (Russian: Подольская губерния [Podol’skaja gubernija]; Ukrainian: Подільська губернія [Podil’s’ka hubernija]) in southwestern Russia bordering with Austria across the Zbruch River and with Bessarabia across the Dniester. Its area was 36,910 km2 (14,251 sq mi).

In the 1772 First Partition of Poland, the Austrian Habsburgs had taken control of a small part of Podolia west of the Zbruch River (sometimes also called "Southern Podolia") around Borschiv, in what is today Ternopil Oblast. At this time, Emperor Joseph II toured the area, was impressed by the fertility of the soil, and was optimistic about its future prospects. Poland disappeared as a state in a third partition in 1795 but the Polish gentry continued to maintain local control in both eastern and western Podolia over a peasant population which was primarily ethnically Ukrainian whose similarity to the other East Slavs already subject to the Habsburg Monarchy was showcased in a 1772 book by Adam F. Kollár and was used as an argument in favor of annexation by the Habsburgs.[1] The Ternopil (Tarnopol) region of western Podolia was briefly taken by Russia in 1809 but reverted to Austrian rule in 1815. Within the Austrian Empire, western Podolia was part of the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria which, in 1867 with the formation of Austria-Hungary, became an ethnic Pole-administered autonomous unit under the Austrian crown. At the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, Austrian Podolia witnessed a large scale emigration of its peasant population to western Canada.

Between Poland and the Soviet Union

With the collapse of Austria-Hungary following World War I in November 1918, western Podolia was included in the West Ukrainian People's Republic, but came under Polish control in 1919 which was confirmed in the Poland–Ukrainian People's Republic agreement in April 1920. Podolia was briefly occupied in 1920 by Soviets during the course of the Polish–Soviet War. At same war, Poland briefly occupied eastern Podolia in 1919 and again in 1920. After the Peace of Riga the Polish control of western Podolia was recognized by the USSR. USSR retained eastern one. There were pogroms during this period.

In Poland from 1921 to 1939, western Podolia was part of the Tarnopol Voivodeship. Eastern Podolia remained to the Ukrainian SSR and between 1922 and 1940, in the southwestern part, the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created.

In 1927 there was a massive uprising of peasants and factory workers in Mohyliv-Podilskyi, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Tiraspol and other cities of southern Ukrainian SSR against Soviet authorities. Troops from Moscow were sent to the region and suppressed the unrest, causing around 4000 deaths, according to US correspondents sent to report about the insurrection, which was at the time completely denied by the Kremlin official press.[2]

In 1939 after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939, the area became part of Soviet Ukraine. Many local inhabitants were deported to concentration camps. Following German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, most of Podolia was occupied by Nazi Germany and incorporated into the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. The area of Podolia between the Southern Bug below Vinnytsia and the Dniester was occupied by Axis Romania as part of Transnistria.

Starting in July 1941, the Jewish inhabitants were subjected to mass extermination by shooting in a German campaign carried out by four Einsatzgruppen ("operational groups") specially organized for the purpose. Reliable estimates including German, Soviet, and local records indicate that upwards of 1.6 million, perhaps as many as 2 million, Jews were murdered in this fashion. Most were buried in mass graves, but there were also instances of communities being forced en masse into community buildings or synagogues that were then burnt, or herded into local mines that were subsequently dynamited. Podolia had been the center of a thriving Jewish community and culture since the late 17th century. All of that was extinguished within less than three years.

In 1944 the Soviets regained Podolia and in 1945, when Poland's eastern border was formally realigned along the Curzon line, the whole of Podolia remained in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Most remaining Poles and Jews fled or were expelled to the People's Republic of Poland.


The Podillya's folk icon-painting tradition is well known in Ukraine. Its manifestation are long home iconostases painted on canvas in the end of the 19th - beginning of the 20th cc. Red, green and yellow colours are prevailing, the faces of the saints are a little bit long, their eyes are almond-like. On these iconostases, the most venerated family saints were painted. The collections of Podillya's folk iconostases are possessed by Vynnytsya Art Museum and The Museum of Ukrainian Home Icons in the Radomysl Castle.[3]


Twierdza w Kamiencu Podolskim

The fortress of Kamianets-Podilskyi

5. Головний корпус УНУС (мур.), вулиця Інститутська, 4 (Умань)

The main building of Uman National University of Horticulture


Pervomaisk city council


Rîbnița as seen from across the Dniester river

POL województwo podolskie IRP COA


Kamenetz-Podolsk City Hall at night

Kamianets-Podilskyi City Hall at night


A nice park with a fountain near the Kamianets-Podilskyi's old town quarter

Kamianets-Podilskyi Old Town street

An old street in Kamianets-Podilskyi's old town quarter. Recently restorational works are being conducted in the city.

Тріумфальна арка

Arch of triumph


  1. ^ Joachim Bahlcke, Ungarischer Episkopat und österreichische Monarchie: Von einer Partnerschaft zur Konfrontation (1686–1790). 2005.
  2. ^ Disorder in the Ukraine?, Time, December 12, 1927
  3. ^ Богомолець. О. "Замок-музей Радомисль на Шляху Королів Via Regia". — Київ, 2013
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainKropotkin, Peter; Bealby, John Thomas (1911). "Podolia" . In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 21 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 875.

The Road From Letichev, Chapin & Weinstock, Writers' Showcase 2000

External links

Balta, Odessa Oblast

Balta (Ukrainian: Балта; Romanian: Balta) is a city in Odessa Oblast in south-western Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Balta Raion (district), as well as a city of regional significance. Population: 18,993 (2015 est.) The city's population was 19,772 as of the 2001 Ukrainian Census.


Bershad (Ukrainian: Бершадь, translit., Bershad’; Polish: Berszad; Romanian: Berşad) is a town in the Vinnytsia Oblast (province) of Ukraine, located in the historic region of Podolia. It is the administrative center of the predominantly-agricultural Bershad Raion (district). Population: 13,038 (2015 est.)


Bratslav (Ukrainian: Брацлав; Polish: Bracław; Yiddish: בראָסלעוו‎, Broslev, today also pronounced Breslev or Breslov as the name of a Hasidic group, which originated from this town) is an urban-type settlement in Ukraine, located in Nemyriv Raion of Vinnytsia Oblast, by the Southern Bug river. It is a medieval European city and a regional center of the Eastern Podolia region (see Bratslav Voivodeship) founded by government of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland, which dramatically lost its importance during the 19th-20th centuries. Population: 5,557 (2015 est.)


Camenca (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈkameŋka], Cyrillic spelling Каменка, Russian: Каменка, Kamenka, Ukrainian: Кам'янка, Kamianka, Polish: Kamionka) is a town in Transnistria, Moldova. It is composed of the town itself, and the village of Solnecinoe.

Camenca is the seat of Camenca District.

The town is located at 48°1′N 28°43′E, on the Dniester, in the north of Transnistria. In 1989 it had a population of 13,689. According to the 2004 Census in Transnistria, the town itself has 10,323 inhabitants, including 5,296 Moldovans, 3,476 Ukrainians, 1,305 Russians, 61 Belarusians, 42 Poles, 35 Bulgarians, 32 Gagauzes, 23 Germans, 10 Armenians, 8 Jews, 3 Gypsies, and 32 others.

The mayor is Pyotr Mustya.


Haisyn or Haysyn (Ukrainian: Га́йсин, Haysyn; Polish: Hajsyn; Russian: Га́йсин, Gaysin) is a town in central Ukraine, the administrative center of the Haisyn Raion in Vinnytsia Oblast. Its population is 25,920. (2015 est.) It is located in the eastern part of the historical region of Podolia.

Hajsyn was first mentioned in 1545. Since 1566 it was part of the Bracław Voivodeship of Poland. In 1744, King Augustus III granted Hajsyn city rights. It was a royal city of Poland. After the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 it was annexed by the Russian Empire.

Kalynivka, Vinnytsia Oblast

Kalynivka (Ukrainian: Калинівка, Polish: Kalinówka, Russian: Калиновка) is a town in Vinnytsia Oblast, Ukraine. Kalynivka serves as the administrative district of Kalynivka Raion, one of twenty-seven raions (districts) of Vinnytsia Oblast. Population: 19,203 (2015 est.)


Kamianets-Podilskyi (Ukrainian: Ка́м'яне́ць-Поді́льський, Polish: Kamieniec Podolski, Romanian: Camenița, Russian: Каменец-Подольский, Yiddish: קאמענעץ־פאדאלסק‎) is a city on the Smotrych River in western Ukraine, to the north-east of Chernivtsi. Formerly the administrative center of the Khmelnytskyi Oblast, the city is now the administrative center of the Kamianets-Podilskyi Raion (district) within the Khmelnytskyi Oblast (province). The city itself is also designated as a separate district within the region.

The current estimated population is around 101,728 (2015).

Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine

Khmelnytskyi (Ukrainian: Хмельни́цький, translit. Chmełnyċkyj, pronounced [xmɛlʲˈnɪtsʲkɪj]; Polish: Chmielnicki) (until 1954, Proskuriv, Ukrainian: Проску́рів [proˈskuriu̯]; Polish: Płoskirów) is a city in western part of Ukraine, the administrative center for the Khmelnytskyi Oblast (region) and the Khmelnytskyi Raion (district). Khmelnytskyi is located in the historic region of Podolia on the banks of the Buh River. The city received its current local government designation in 1941.

In 2015, the city's population was 267,973, making it the second largest city of the former, archaic Podolia region after Vinnytsia and the largest city of the western part of the region.


Kódyma (Ukrainian: Ко́дима, Кодыма, Polish: Kodyma, Romanian: Codâma) is a city of about 8762 (01.05.2015) inhabitants in Odessa Oblast (region) of central Ukraine, located in the historic region of Podolia. It is the administrative center of Kodyma Raion (district). Population: 8,818 (2015 est.)


Mohyliv-Podilskyi (Ukrainian: Могилів-Подільський, Russian: Могилёв-Подо́льский, Polish: Mohylów Podolski, Romanian: Moghilǎu/Movilǎu, Yiddish: מאָהילעװ‎) is a city in the Mohyliv-Podilskyi Raion (district) of the Vinnytsia Oblast (province), Ukraine. Administratively, Mohyliv-Podilskyi is incorporated as a town of regional significance. It also serves as the administrative center of Mohyliv-Podilskyi Raion, one of twenty-seven districts of Vinnytsia Oblast, though it is not a part of the district. It is located in the historic region of Podolia, on the border with Bessarabia, Moldova, along the left bank of the Dniester river. On the opposite side of the river lies the Moldovan town of Otaci, and the two municipalities are connected to each other by a bridge. Population: 31,674 (2015 est.)


Nemyriv (Ukrainian: Немирів, Russian: Немирoв, Polish: Niemirów) is a historic town in Vinnytsia Oblast (province) in Ukraine, located in the historical region of Podolia. It is the administrative center of Nemyriv Raion (district). Population: 11,829 (2015 est.)Nemyriv is one of the oldest cities in Vinnytska oblast, Ukraine. It was founded by Prince Nemyr in 1390. It is a minor industrial center.

The distiller company that produces Ukrainian Nemiroff (Russian spelling) vodka is located in Nemyriv.

The town's tourist attractions include a late 19th-century palace (which belonged to the House of Potocki) and a park complex.

Podolia Eyalet

Podolia Eyalet (Ottoman Turkish: Eyalet-i Kamaniçe‎) was an eyalet of the Ottoman Empire. Its capital was Kamianets-Podilskyi (Polish: Kamieniec Podolski; Ukrainian: Кам’янець-Подільський; Turkish: Kamaniçe).

Podolia electoral district (Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917)

]The Podolia electoral district (Russian: Подольский избирательный округ) was a constituency created for the Russian Constituent Assembly election, 1917.

The electoral district covered the Podolian Governorate. Podolia was close to the frontline. U.S. historian Oliver Henry Radkey, whose work is one of the sources for the results table below, cites that the Ukrainian Social Democratic Labour Party organ Robitchna Gazeta reported that elections were held in Podolia between Dec 3-7, and presented results from 9 out of 12 uezds, but that Robitchna Gazeta's party tally greater than the vote cast in the 9 uezds, possibly pointing to results included from the remaining 3 uezds. The conservative Russkoe Slovo reported normal voting conditions in Podolia.

Podolian Governorate

The Podolia Governorate or Government of Podolia, set up after the Second Partition of Poland, comprised a governorate (guberniya) of the Russian Empire from 1793 to 1917, of the Ukrainian People's Republic from 1917 to 1921, and of the Ukrainian SSR from 1921 to 1925.

Podolian Upland

The Podolian Upland (Podolian Plateau) or Podillia Upland (Ukrainian: подільська височина, podilska vysochyna) is a big in terms of area upland in southwestern Ukraine on the left bank of Dniester, with its small northwestern part stretching into eastern Poland.

Along Dniester, the region stretches from northwest of Western Bug to southeast Boh (or Southern Bug). Western Bug separates it from Lublin Upland, while Southern Bug – Dnieper Upland. Average height of the Podolian Upland is over 300 m (980 ft) with the maximum being a hill known as Kamula Mountain 471 m (1,545 ft).

The surface is characterized by combination of wide flat interfluves and deep canyon-like valleys (so called dales) dissected into separate natural sub-regions.

Wooded heightened hills




Kremenets Hills (Mountains)


Flat treeless plateaus

Ternopil Plateau

Upper Bug Plateau

North-Podolian PlateauThe Podolian Upland and the Volhynian Upland are sometimes grouped together as the Volhynian-Podolian Upland.

Podolian Voivodeship

The Podolian Voivodeship or Palatinate of Podolia was a unit of administrative division and local government in the Kingdom of Poland, since 1434 until 1793, except for the period of Ottoman occupation (1672–1699), when the region was organized as Podolia Eyalet. Together with the Bracław Voivodeship it formed the region of Podolia, which in the Kingdom of Poland was part of Lesser Poland Province. Its capital was in Kamianets-Podilskyi, where local sejmiks took place and where the seat of the starosta was as well.

The voivodeship was created 1434, out of former Duchy of Podolia, which had become part of the Kingdom of Poland in the second half of the 14th century. After the second partition of Poland (see: Partitions of Poland), it was seized by the Russian Empire, which in 1793 created the Podolia Governorate. Today the region belongs to Ukraine.

Zygmunt Gloger in his monumental book Historical Geography of the Lands of Old Poland gives a detailed description of Podole Voivodeship:

In ancient times, Podole was a borderland of permanent Slavic settlements, behind which were steppes, inhabited by nomadic tribes. Proximity of these Barbaric tribes made it impossible for the Slavs to take full advantage of Podole, which is the most beautiful and the richest of all Slavic lands (...) For many years borders of Podole were not defined. The province was captured by the Tatars in the 13th century. They in return were chased away by the Lithuanians, who in the mid-14th century clashed here with Poland. Podole was in 1352 captured by Algirdas, and in 1396 King Wladyslaw Jagiello placed this land under Spytek of Melsztyn. Later on, Podole was ruled by Svitrigaila, and finally in 1434 the Sejm created Podole Voivodeship, naming Piotr Odrowaz the first voivode. Still, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania continued to claim this land, and the conflict was ended by the 1569 Union of Lublin (...) If it had not been for thousands of Polish szlachta families, who since the 14th century settled here, Podole would remain a deserted steppe (...)

Boundaries of the new voivodeship were as follows: in northwest it bordered Trembowla County of Ruthenian Voivodeship, in the north it bordered Volhynian Voivodeship, while in the east it touched Braclaw Voivodeship. Whole southern and southwestern border went along the Dniestr and the Stypa rivers (...) In its early years, Podole Voivodeship had a number of small counties, which were located around royal castles. In the 15th century, there were counties of Skala Podolska, Smotrycz, Bakota, Latyczow, Miedzyboz, Chmielnik, Zinkow, and Bar. Finally, in 1542 only three counties were established, at Czerwonogrod, Kamieniec and Latyczow (...)

In the 16th century, Podole Voivodeship had 37 towns, and according to the 1578 census, there were 650 villages. By 1583, the number of villages was reduced to only 434, due to constant Crimean Tatar raids. The voivodeship also had 35 castles and forts (...)

Podole Voivodeship had three senators: the Bishop, the Voivode and the Castellan of Kamieniec. Local starosta, who also used the title "General of Podolian Lands", governed two towns, those of Kamieniec and Latyczow. There also were starostas at Czerwonogrod, Bar, Chmielnik, Kopajgrod, Mukarow, Ploskirow and others. Sejmiks took place at Kamieniec, where six deputies to the Sejm were elected, as well as two deputies to the Lesser Poland Tribunal at Lublin (...) Podole Voivodeship had two border judges, who cooperated with officials of the Ottoman Porte, solving border conflicts.


Podolyans (Ukrainian: Подоляни, Polish: Podolanie) is one of Ukrainian ethnographic groups given to the people who populated the region of Podolia.

In the 19th century, Gustave Le Bon has found a new peculiar race in the Tatra Mountains, named "Podolians".


Rîbnița or Rybnitsa (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈrɨbnit͡sa]; also spelled Râbnița; Moldovan Cyrillic and Russian: Ры́бница, Rybnica; Ukrainian: Ри́бниця, Rybnyća; Yiddish: ריבניץ‎, Ribnitz; Polish: Rybnica) is a city in Moldova, under the administration of the breakaway government of Transnistria. According to the 2004 Census in Transnistria, it has a population of 53,648. Rîbnița is situated in the northern half of Transnistria, on the left bank of the Dniester, and separated from the river by a concrete dam. The city is the seat of the Rîbnița District.


Tulchyn (Ukrainian: Тульчин, translit. Tul’chyn, old name Nesterwar (from Hungarian Nester - Dniester and war -town), Latin Tulcinum, Polish: Tulczyn, Yiddish: טולטשין‎, Romanian: Tulcin) is a town in Vinnytsia Oblast (province) of western Ukraine, former Podolia. It is the administrative center of Tulchyn Raion (district), and was the chief centre of the Southern Society of the Decembrists, Pavel Pestel was located there during planning of the rebellion. The city is also known for being the home to Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych who produced several of this choral masterpieces (including world famous "Carol of the bells") when he lived here. An important landmark of the city is the palace of the Potocki family, built according to the principles of Palladian architecture according to the plans drafted by Joseph Lacroix during the 1780s. Polish patriot Józef Wysocki (general) was born in Tulchin in 1809, author of Pamietnik Jenerala Wysockiego, Dowodcy Legionu Polskiego Na Wegrzech Z Czasu Kampanii Wegierskiej W Roku 1848 i 1849. Population: 15,763 (2015 est.)

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