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Turaw (also transliterated from Russian as Turov) is a town in Zhytkavichy district of Homel voblast of Belarus.


Turaw is an ancient capital of the Drehavichy ethnos - one of the three Eastern Slav ingredients of Belarusian nation. The others are Kryvichy (center in Polacak) and Drevliane (Mahilyow region). The first mention of Turaw is in the "Tale of Bygone Years" in 980. It is located in the South of Belarus in Palesse region.

The city was founded at the crossing of Yazda and Strumen' rivers by Duke named Tur - hence Turaw. (Tur is also the name of an extinct wild European ram.) Both rivers were joining with Prypiac' river, which later entered Dnieper river, flowing to the Black sea. This river route was known to vikings. The Viking dynasty of Ruriks has became dukes in neighboring Kyiv Principality. Turaw dukes were also of viking Rurykovichy dynasty. The ancient Turaw was an important trade center of Kyevan Rus due to its location on Viking route to Black Sea.

Many different crafts were developed and practiced in Turaw. Bishop Cyril of Turaw (Kiryla Turawski), an ancient Belarusian philosopher and religious figure, lived in Turaw. Turaw suffered through a number of feudal conflicts in XII century and lost its importance later on. Turaw is a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1320. Later it becomes a privately owned town of Grand Duke Svidryhajla in 1430. It is owned by M.L. Hlinsky at the end of XV c. Astrozhski dynasty owns Turaw in 1508-1620 and later gives it up to Sapega, then Potocki dynasties of Belarusian nobility - magnats. Turaw went through many devastations over the centuries. It was attacked by Tartars in 1502 and 1521. It was burned by Ian Radzivil in 1649. It was destroyed during war with Muscovy of 1654-1667. In 1648 Turaw had 401 households, and in 1667 - 111 households were left. Ever since becoming a part of Russian Empire in 1793 Turaw has been a small provincial town.