Belgorod (Russian: Белгород;)is a city and the administrative center of Belgorod Oblast, Russia, situated on the Seversky Donets River just 40 kilometers (25 mi) north of the Ukrainian border.
The name Belgorod in Russian literally means "a white city", name being a compound of "белый" (bely, "white, light") and "город" (gorod, "town, city"). The city was thus named after the region being rich in limestone. Etymologically, it corresponds to other Slavic city names of identical meaning: Belgrade, Białogard, Biograd, Bilhorod, Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi etc.
The settlement was first mentioned in 1237, when it was ravaged by the hordes of Batu Khan. It is unclear whether this Belgorod was located at the same place where the current city is. In 1596, it was re-founded by the order of Feodor Ioannovich as one of numerous forts set up to defend Southern borders from the Crimean Tatars.After the Russian border was moved further south, the fortress fell in disrepair and the town was assigned to Kursk Governorate. Peter the Great visited it on the eve of the Battle of Poltava, and a dragoon regiment was stationed in the town until 1917.
Ioasaph of Belgorod, an 18th century bishop, became widely venerated as a miracle worker and was glorified as a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1911.
It was occupied by Nazi Germany on October 25, 1941. On July 12, 1943, during the Battle of Kursk, the largest tank battle in world history took place near Prokhorovka, and the city was consequently liberated on August 5, 1943. The Belgorod Diorama is one of the World War II monuments commemorating the event.Belgorod is an administrative, industrial and cultural center of Belgorod Oblast, established in 1954. The major educational centers of the city are Belgorod State University, Technological University, Agricultural Academy, Financial Academy.
Belgorod Drama Theater is named after one of the famous 19th-century actors Mikhail Shchepkin who was born in this region.