Flag of Lutsk
Coat of arms of Lutsk
Lutsk is located in Volyn Oblast
Location of Lutsk
Lutsk is located in Ukraine
Lutsk (Ukraine)
Coordinates: 50°45′00″N 25°20′09″E / 50.75000°N 25.33583°E / 50.75000; 25.33583
Country Ukraine
OblastVolyn Oblast
RaionLutsk Raion
HromadaLutsk urban hromada
City Rights1432
 • MayorIhor Polishchuk
 • Total72.3 km2 (27.9 sq mi)
174 m (571 ft)
 • Total220,986
 • Density4,830/km2 (12,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal code
Area code+380 332
Sister citiesLublin

Lutsk (Ukrainian: Луцьк, IPA: [lut͡sʲk] ; see below for other names) is a city on the Styr River in northwestern Ukraine. It is the administrative center of Volyn Oblast and the administrative center of Lutsk Raion within the oblast. Lutsk has a population of 220,986 (2022 estimate).[1] Historically it was a cultural and religious center in Volhynia.

Names and etymology


Lutsk is an ancient Slavic town, mentioned in the Hypatian Chronicle as Luchesk in the records of 1085. The etymology of the name is unclear. There are three hypotheses: the name may have been derived from the Old Slavic word luka (an arc or bend in a river), or the name may have originated from Luka (the chieftain of the Dulebs), an ancient Slavic tribe living in this area. The name may also have been created after Luchanii (Luchans), an ancient branch of the tribe mentioned above. Its historical name in Ukrainian is "Луцьк".

The city of Lutsk is also historically known by different names in other languages – Polish: Łuck, IPA: [wutsk]; Yiddish: לוצק ,לויצק, romanizedLoytzk, Loutsk; as well as a number of other names.[2]



According to the legend, Luchesk dates from the 7th century. The first known documentary reference dates were from the year 1085. The town served as the capital of the Principality of Halych-Volynia (founded in 1199) until the rise of Volodymyr. The town grew around a wooden stronghold built by a local branch of the Rurik Dynasty. At certain times the location functioned as the capital of the principality, but the town did not become an important centre of commerce or culture.

Grand Duchy of Lithuania


In 1240, Tatars seized and looted the nearby town but left the castle unharmed. In 1321, George, son of Lev, the last prospective heir of Halych-Volynia, died in a battle with the forces of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania, and Lithuanian forces seized the castle. In 1349, the forces of King Casimir III of Poland captured the town, but Lithuania soon retook it.

The town began to prosper during the period of Lithuanian rule. Prince Lubart (died 1384), son of Gediminas, erected Lubart's Castle as part of his fortification programme. Vytautas the Great, Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1392 to 1430, founded the town itself by importing colonists (mostly Jews, Tatars, and Karaims). In 1427 he transferred the Catholic bishopric from Volodymyr to Luchesk. Vytautas was the last monarch to use the title of "Duke of Volhynia" and to reside in Lubart's Castle.

The town grew rapidly, and by the end of the 15th century, there were 19 Orthodox and two Catholic churches. It was the seat of two Christian bishops, one Catholic and one Orthodox. Because of that, the town was sometimes nicknamed "the Volhynian Rome." The cross symbol of Lutsk features the highest Lithuanian Presidential award, the Order of Vytautas the Great.[citation needed]

In 1429 Lutsk was the meeting place selected for a conference of monarchs hosted by Jogaila and Sophia of Halshany to deal with the Tatar threat. Those invited to attend included Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor; Vasili II of Russia, the king of Denmark; Eric of Pomerania, the Grand Master of the Livonian Order; Zisse von Rutenberg, the Duke of Szczecin Kazimierz V; Dan II, the Hospodar of Wallachia; and Prince-electors of most of the countries of Germany.

Crown of the Kingdom of Poland

Lutheran church
Lutsk Old Town

In 1432, Volhynia became a fief of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and Lutsk became the seat of the governors, and later the Marshalls of the Land of Volhynia. That same year, the city was granted Magdeburg rights. In 1569, Volhynia was fully incorporated into the Polish kingdom and the town became the capital of the Volhynian Voivodeship and the Łuck powiat (Polish administrative unit). After the Union of Lublin, the local Orthodox bishop converted to Eastern Catholicism.

The town continued to prosper as an important economic centre of the region. By the mid-17th century, Łuck had approximately 50,000 inhabitants and was one of the largest towns in the area. During the Khmelnytsky Uprising, the town was seized by the forces of Colonel Kolodko. Up to 4,000 people were slaughtered, approximately 35,000 fled, and the town was looted and partially burnt. It never fully recovered. In 1781, the city was struck by a fire which destroyed 440 houses, both cathedrals, and several other churches.

Russian Empire


In 1795, as a result of the Partitions of Poland, the Russian Empire annexed Lutsk. The Voivodeship was liquidated and the town lost its significance as the capital of the province (which was moved to Zhytomyr). After the November Uprising (1830–1831), efforts increased to remove Polish influence. Russian became the dominant language in official circles. Though, the population continued to speak Ukrainian; the Polish population spoke Polish; and the Jewish population spoke Yiddish (only in private circles). The Greek Catholic churches was turned into Orthodox Christian ones, which led to the self-liquidation of the Uniates here. In 1845, another great fire struck the city, resulting in further depopulation.

In 1850, three major forts were built around Lutsk, and the town became a small fortress called Mikhailogorod. During the First World War, the town was seized by Austria-Hungary on 29 August 1915. The town sustained a small amount of damage. During more than a year of Austro-Hungarian occupation, Lutsk became an important military centre with the headquarters of the IV Army under Archduke Josef Ferdinand stationed there. A plague of epidemic typhus decimated the city's inhabitants.

On 4 June 1916, four Russian armies under general Aleksei Brusilov started what later became known as the Brusilov Offensive. After up to three days of heavy artillery barrage, the Battle of Lutsk began. On 7 June 1916 the Russian forces reconquered the city. After the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in 1917, the city was seized by Germany on 7 February 1918. On 22 February 1918 the town was transferred by the withdrawing German army to the forces loyal to Symon Petlura.

Second Polish Republic


During the Polish-Bolshevik War, on 16 May 1919, Lutsk was taken over by the forces of Poland's Blue Army after a heavy battle with the Red Army. The city was devastated and largely depopulated. It witnessed the Soviet counter-offensive of 1920 and was taken on 12 July 1920. It was recaptured by Poland's 45th Rifles regiment and field artillery on 15 September 1920.[3] According to American sociologist Alexander Gella "the Polish victory [over the Red Army] had gained twenty years of independence not only for Poland but at least for an entire central part of Europe.[4] Łuck was designated by the newly-reborn nation of Poland as the capital of the Wołyń Voivodeship.

The city was connected by railroad to Lviv (then Lwów) and Przemyśl. Several brand new factories were built both in Łuck and on its outskirts producing farming equipment, wood, and leather products among other consumer goods. New mills and breweries opened. An orphanage was built, and a big new bursary. The first high school was soon inaugurated. In 1937, an airport was established in Łuck with an area of 69 hectares (170 acres).[3]

The 13th Kresowy Light Artillery Regiment was stationed in the city, together with a Łuck National Defense (Poland) Battalion. In 1938, construction of a large modern radio transmitter began in the city (see Polish Radio Łuck). As of 1 January 1939 Łuck had 39,000 inhabitants (approximately 17,500 Jews and 13,500 Poles). The powiat formed around the town had 316,970 inhabitants, including 59% Ukrainians, 19.5% Poles, 14% Jews and approximately 23,000 Czechs and Germans.

World War II


On Thursday 7 September 1939, at about 5 p.m., the Polish government, which had left Warsaw the day before, arrived at Łuck. German intelligence quickly found out about it, and the city was twice bombed by the Luftwaffe, on 11 and 14 September. After panzer units of the Wehrmacht had crossed the Bug river, on 14 September the government of Poland left Łuck and headed southwards, to Kosow Huculski, which at that time was located near the Polish–Romanian border.

As a result of the invasion of Poland from both sides and the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Łuck, along with the rest of western Volyn, was annexed by the Soviet Union. Most of the factories (including the almost-finished radio station) were dismantled and sent east to Russia. Approximately 10,000 of the city's Polish inhabitants (chiefly ethnic Poles, but also Polish Jews) were deported in cattle trucks to Kazakhstan and 1,550 were arrested by the NKVD.[5][6]

After the start of Operation Barbarossa the city was captured by the Wehrmacht on 25 June 1941. Thousands of Polish and Ukrainian prisoners were shot by the retreating NKVD responsible for political prisons. The inmates were offered amnesty and in the morning of June 23 ordered to exit the building en masse. They were gunned down by Soviet tanks.[7] Some 4,000 captives including Poles, Jews and Ukrainians were massacred.[8]

Upon Nazi occupation, most of the Jewish inhabitants of the city were forced into a new Łuck Ghetto (German: Ghetto Luzk) and then murdered at the execution site on Górka Połonka hill not far from the city.[9] In total, more than 25,000 Jews were executed there at point-blank range,[10] men, women and children.[11] The Łuck Ghetto was liquidated entirely through the Holocaust by bullets.[12] During the massacres of Poles in Volhynia approximately 10,000 Poles were murdered by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in the area. It was captured by the Red Army on 2 February 1944.



After the end of the war, the remaining Polish inhabitants of the city were expelled, mostly to the areas that are sometimes referred to as the Polish Regained Territories. The city became an industrial centre in the Ukrainian SSR. The major changes in the city's demographics had the final result that by the end of the war, the city was almost entirely Ukrainian. During the Cold War, the city hosted the Lutsk air base.

As one of the largest cities in Western Ukraine, Lutsk became the seat of the General Consulate of Poland in 2003.[13]

On 21 July 2020, a hostage crisis took place, involving a man armed with a firearm and explosives who stormed a bus and took 16 people hostage at about 9:25 a.m. Police said that they had identified the hostage-taker and that he had expressed dissatisfaction with "Ukraine's system" on social media. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that shots gas had been heard and that the bus had been damaged. The incident led to police blocking off the city centre. The standoff was eventually resolved after several hours, with all of the hostages being freed and the hostage taker being arrested.[14][15][16]

Russian invasion of Ukraine


On 11 March 2022, as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian army fired four missiles at Lutsk military airfield killing two Ukrainian servicemen and wounding six.[17] On 28 March, Lutsk was struck by another Russian missile.[18]



As of 1 January 2022, the population of the Lutsk city territorial community was 244,678 people, and 215,986 people in the city of Lutsk.



Distribution of the population by native language according to the 2001 census:[19]

Language Number Percentage
Ukrainian 190 926 92.87%
Russian 13 958 6.79%
Other or undecided 701 0.34%
Total 205 585 100.00 %

According to a survey conducted by the International Republican Institute in April-May 2023, 98% of the city's population spoke Ukrainian at home, and 1% spoke Russian.[20]





Lutsk has a humid continental climate (Dfb in the Köppen climate classification).

Climate data for Lutsk (1991–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) −0.4
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.9
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −5.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 30
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 7.9 8.2 7.3 7.5 9.0 8.9 10.0 7.4 7.6 7.3 7.7 9.4 98.2
Average relative humidity (%) 87.3 84.6 78.1 68.8 69.3 71.5 72.9 71.7 77.6 81.8 87.6 88.7 78.3
Source: NOAA[21]

Industry and commerce


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

Places of interest

Lubart's Castle, 1916

Theatres and museums

Volyn Regional Museum



The city was the episcopal seat of the Eparchy of Lutsk–Ostroh in the Ruthenian Uniate Church. The city was also the centre of the short-lived Ukrainian Catholic Apostolic Exarchate of Volhynia, Polesia and Pidliashia. Currently, it is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lutsk and of the Exarchate of Lutsk in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. In the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, the former Catholic cathedral of the Holy Trinity is the seat of the Eparchy of Volhynia.

Notable people

Alojzy Feliński, 1862
Svetlana Zakharova, 2015



The NKVD and Nazi massacres are mentioned in the Prix Goncourt awarded novel The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell.

Lutsk is a location taken over by post-apocalyptic slavers in the sci-fi/adventure novel The Crisis Pendant by Charlie Patterson.

Twin towns – sister cities


Lutsk is twinned with:[22]



  1. ^ a b Чисельність наявного населення України на 1 січня 2022 [Number of Present Population of Ukraine, as of January 1, 2022] (PDF) (in Ukrainian and English). Kyiv: State Statistics Service of Ukraine. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 July 2022.
  2. ^ Beider, Alexander (2012). "Eastern Yiddish Toponyms of German Origin" (PDF). Yiddish Studies Today. ISBN 978-3-943460-09-4, ISSN 2194-8879 (düsseldorf university press, Düsseldorf 2012). Retrieved 26 December 2023.
  3. ^ a b Antoni Tomczyk (2013). "Łuck - Miasto bliskie sercom naszym". Kresowe Stanice. Stowarzyszenie Rodzin Osadników Wojskowych i Cywilnych Kresów Wschodnich. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  4. ^ Aleksander Gella (1988), Development of Class Structure in Eastern Europe: Poland and Her Southern Neighbors, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-88706-833-1, Google Print, p. 23.
  5. ^ Tadeusz Piotrowski (1998), Poland's Holocaust (Google Books). Jefferson: McFarland, pp. 17-18, 420. ISBN 0-7864-0371-3.
  6. ^ Feliks Trusiewicz, Zbrodnie – Ludobójstwo dokonane na ludności polskiej w powiecie Łuck, woj. wołyńskie, w latach 1939-1944. (War crimes committed against Polish nationals in the Łuck county, 1939–44). Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  7. ^ Berkhoff, Karel Cornelis (2004). Harvest of Despair. Harvard University Press. p. 14. ISBN 0674020782. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  8. ^ Piotrowski 1998, p. 17; The Murder of the Jews of Lutsk at Yad Vashem website
  9. ^ Andrzej Mielcarek, Wieś i kolonia Hnidawa, inaczej Gnidawa, powiat Łuck; Gromada Połonka. Interactive 1936 map included. Strony o Wołyniu in Polish. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  10. ^ Yad Vashem, Mass-murder of Łuck Jews at Gurka Polonka in August 1942 on YouTube Note: village Połonka (Polish: Górka Połonka or its Połonka Little Hill subdivision) is misspelt in the documentary, with the testimony of eyewitness Shmuel Shilo. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  11. ^ YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, Lutsk. Ghetto history. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  12. ^ "The Holocaust by bullets" by National Geographic Channel on YouTube Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  13. ^ General Consulate of Poland in Lutsk (Polish and Ukrainian)
  14. ^ "Police: Armed man holding some 20 people hostage in Ukraine". Associated Press. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  15. ^ "Shots heard as bus passengers taken hostage in western Ukraine". Reuters. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  16. ^ "Ukraine hostage crisis: Police in Lutsk end stand-off". BBC News. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  17. ^ 2 killed 6 wounded in the attack on an airfield in Lutsk
  18. ^ Sangal, Aditi; Caldwell, Travis; Regan, Helen; Woodyatt, Amy; Chowdhury, Maureen; Kurts, Jason; Snowdon, Kathryn (28 March 2022). "It's 2 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know". CNN. No. 28 March 2022 Russia-Ukraine Notices. p. 1. Archived from the original on 16 April 2022. Retrieved 15 April 2022.((cite news)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  19. ^ "Рідні мови в об'єднаних територіальних громадах України" (in Ukrainian).
  20. ^ "Municipal Survey 2023" (PDF). Retrieved 7 August 2023.
  21. ^ "World Meteorological Organization Climate Normals for 1991-2020 — Lutsk". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 16 June 2024.
  22. ^ "Побратими Луцька". (in Ukrainian). Lutsk. Retrieved 31 March 2020.