Mogilev (məgēlyôfˈ) [key], Belarusian Mahilyow, city (1989 pop. 359,188), capital of Mogilev region, in E Belarus, on the Dnieper River. It is an important rail and highway junction, a river port, and an industrial center where metal products, machinery, and artificial fibers are produced. Arising in the 13th cent. on the territory of Smolensk principality, the city grew around a castle dating from 1267 and became a noted commercial center from the 14th cent. Mogilev was part of the grand duchy of Lithuania (united with Poland in 1569), was later held by Sweden, and passed to Russia during the first partition of Poland (1772). It was occupied and heavily damaged by the Germans during World War II. A tower built by the Tatars and several old churches survive.