From Academic Kids

Lutsk (Луцьк, Luts’k in Ukrainian, Łuck in Polish) is the capital of the Volyn Oblast, Ukraine. It is situated by the Styr River. Lutsk has a population of 202,500 (2004).

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Historical region

Volyns'ka oblast'


City Head Anton Fedorovych Kryvyc'kyi
Population (2004)

Population density



Area 41.61 km

City rights

11th century


Area code


Template:Coor dm
Twin town Lublin
Municipal Website (



Lutsk is an ancient Slavic town, mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle as Luchesk in the records under 1085. The ethymology of the name is unclear. There are three hypotheses:

  • the name is derived from the old-Slavic word luka, an arc or bend (of the river).
  • the name is derived from Luka, the chieftain of Dulebii, an ancient Slavic tribe living in the area
  • the name is derived from Luchanii, an ancient branch of the aforementioned tribe


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Lutsk castle

According to legend, Luchesk was founded in the 7th century. However, it wasn't until 1085 when it was first mentioned. Until the foundation of Vlodimer it was the capital of Halych-Volynia.

The town was founded around a wooden castle built by a local branch of the Rurik Dynasty. At times the stronghold was a capital of the duchy, but since there was no need for a fixed capital in medieval Europe, the town did not become an important centre of commerce or culture. In 1240 the nearby town was seized and looted by the Tartars, but the castle was not harmed. In 1321 George son of Lev, the last of the line, died in a battle with the forces of Gediminas, grand duke of Lithuania and the castle was seized by the forces of the latter. In 1349 the town was captured by the forces of Casimir the Great, but it was soon retaken by Lithuania.

During the Lithuanian rule the town begun to prosper. Lubart, son of Gediminas, erected a stone castle as a part of his fortification effort. Vytautas the Great founded the proper town by importing colonists (mostly Jews, Tartars, Armenians and Karaims). In 1427 he also transferred the catholic bishopry from Volodymyr to Luchesk. His heir, Vytautas, was the last monarch to underline the title of Duke of Volhynia and reside in the Luchesk castle. The town grew very fast and by the end of 15th century there were 19 orthodox and 2 catholic churches. It was a seat of two christian bishops: catholic and orthodox. Because of that, the town was nick-named the Volhynian Rome.

In 1429 Lutsk was a meeting place for a conference of monarchs on handling the Tartar threat organized by Ladislaus II of Poland and Jadwiga of Poland. Among those invited were Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, Vasili II the Blind of Russia, king of Denmark Eric of Pomerania, Grand Master of the Livonian Order Zisse von Rutenberg, Duke of Szczecin Kazimierz V, Dan II the Hospodar of Wallachia and electors of most of countries of Germany.

After the death of vitrigaila in 1432 Volhynia became a fief of the Crown of Poland and the town became the seat of the governors, and later the Marshalls of the Land of Volhynia. The same year Łuck was granted Magdeburg rights. In 1569 Volhynia was fully incorporated into Poland and the town became the capital of Volhynian Voivodship and a Łuck powiat. After the Union of Lublin the local orthodox bishop converted to Greek-Catholicism.

The town continued to prosper as an important economical centre of the region. By mid-17th century Łuck had approximately 50 000 inhabitants and was one of the biggest in the area. During Bogdan Chmielnicki's uprising the town was seized by the forces of col. Kolodko. Less than 4 000 people were slaughtered, approximately 35 000 fled and the town was looted and partially burnt. It never fully recovered. In addition, the city was struck by a fire in 1781. 440 houses, both cathedrals and several other churches were destroyed.

In 1795 as a result of Partitions of Poland, Łuck was annexed by Russia. The Voivodship was liquidated and the town lost its significance as the capital of the province (which was moved to Zhytomir). After the November Uprising all liberties were halted and all national languages but the Russian - banned. Most of greek-catholic churches were turned into orthodox temples and all catholic monasteries were turned into prisons and depots. In 1845 another great fire struck the city depopulating it even more.

In 1850 three major forts were built around Lutsk and the town became a small fortress called Mikhailogorod. During the I World War the town was seized by Austria-Hungary on August 29, 1915. The town was slightly damaged. During more than a year of austro-hungarian occupation Lutzk became an important military centre with the headquarters of the IV Army under Archduke Franz Ferdinand stationed there. However, poor food supply led to a plague of epidemic typhus which decimated the city's inhabitants.

On June 4, 1916 four Russian armies under general Aleksei Brusilov started the so called Brusilov Offensive. After up to three days of heavy artillery barrage, a Battle of Lutsk was started. On June 7, 1916 the Russian forces recaptured the city. After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1917 the city was seized by Germany on February 7, 1918. On February 22, 1918 the town was transferred by the withdrawing German army to the forces loyal to Semen Petlura. However, on May 16, 1919 it was captured by the Polish forces under Gen. Aleksander Karnicki.

After the World War I Łuck was annexed by the newly-reborn Poland as a capital of the Volhynian Voivodship. It was connected by railroad to Lww and Przemyśl and several factories were built both in the city and its outskirts. 13 Kresowy Light Artillery Regiment was stationed in the city centre. In 1938 a construction of the biggest and the most modern radio transmitter was started in the city. On January 1, 1939 Łuck itself had 39 000 inhabitants (approximately 17 500 Jews and 13 500 Poles). The powiat formed around the town had 316 970 inhabitants, with 59 % of Ukrainians, 19,5% of Poles, 14% of Jews and approximately 23 000 of Czechs and Germans.

In 1939 as a result of the September Campaign and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact Łuck was annexed by the Soviet Union. Most of the factories (including the almost-finished radio station) were dismantled and sent to Russia. Approximately 10 000 of the city's inhabitants (mostly Poles) were sent to Gulag (more than 7 000 people) or arrested by the NKVD (approximately 1550).

After the Operation Barbarossa the city was captured by the Wehrmacht. Most of the Jewish inhabitants of the city were forced into a ghetto and then murdered at the Polanka hill nearby the city. During the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia approximately 10 000 of Poles were murdered by the Ukrainian Uprising Army in the area.

After the war most of the Polish inhabitants of the city were either draughted to the Army or forcibly expelled, mostly to the so-called Regained Territories. The town was yet again annexed to the Soviet Union and became an industrial centre in the Ukrainian SSR.

In 1991 it became a part of Ukraine as an important city in the Volyn region.

Famous people born or working in Lutsk

Places of interest

Industry and commerce

Lutsk is an important centre of industry. Factories of cars, shoes, bearings, furniture, machines and electronics, as well as weaveries, steel mills and a chemical plant are located in the area.

Culture and science

A school for teachers (subordinate to the Lviv Polytechnics) is located in the city.

The city has an opera, an art gallery and a regional museum.

External links

  • Lutsk (,.htm) - Steinberg family history site
  • Łuck ( - Illustrated Guidebook to Wolyń, 1929 (Polish language)da:Lutsk

de:Luzk pl:Łuck ru:Луцк uk:Луцьк


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