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Zhytomyr is a historic city in the North of the western half of Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Zhytomyr Oblast. Zhytomyr is a major transportation hub. The city lies on a historic route linking the city of Kiev with the west through Brest. Today it links Warsaw with Kiev, Minsk with Izmail, and several major cities of Ukraine.

Important economic activities of Zhytomyr include lumber milling, food processing, granite quarrying, metalworking, and the manufacture of musical instruments.

Zhytomyr Oblast is the main center of the Polish minority in Ukraine, and in the city itself there is a large Roman-Catholic Polish cemetery, founded in 1800. It is regarded as the third biggest Polish cemetery beyond borders of Poland, behind the Lychakivskiy Cemetery in Lviv and Rossa Cemetery in Vilnius.

Zhytomyr lies in a unique natural setting; all sides of the city are surrounded by ancient forests through which flow the Teteriv, Kamianka, Kroshenka and Putiatynka rivers.

The city is rich in parks and public squares. Zhytomyr is set out on a mostly radial type of street net with the centre at the main public square of the city, named Sobornyi Maidan (or Sobornyi Square, which means Cathedral Square). The best-known street in the central part of Zhytomyr is Mykhailivska (named after St. Michael's Church located at the northern end of the street). Mykhailivska Street is for pedestrian traffic: vehicles are forbidden. The best-known park of Zhytomyr is named after Yuri Gagarin, located in the south of the city, at the left (northern) bank of the Teteriv river. It was formerly owned by the Baron de Chaudoir.

In the city many famous figures of science and culture lived and worked : Chaim Nachman Bialik, Vladimir Korolenko, Academician S.P. Korolev, V.M. Artsikhovsky - botanist, J.B. Gamarnik and J. Kolyada, historians - Kruglyak B.A. and A.A. Skalkovsky, orientalist - T.A. Shumovskii, artist- D.P. Shterenberg, mathematician- Igor Shafarevich, the pianist - Sviatoslav Richter and others. There are History Museum, Art Gallery, Museum of Natural History, Korolenko Literary and Memorial Museum and Memorial House-Museum of Academician Sergei Korolev, the Literary Museum and the only Ukrainian museum of astronautics history. In the city there are monuments and plaques to Taras Shevchenko, Alexander Dovzhenko, Boris Ten, Vladimir Korolenko, Sergei Korolev, Viktor Kosenko, Oleg Olzhych, Michael Kotsubinskiy, Alexandr Kuprin, Alexandr Pushkin, Jaroslaw Dombrowski and many other famous writers and public figures.