Mogilev is a city in eastern Belarus, about 76 km from the border with Russia's Smolensk Oblast and 105 km from the border with Russia's Bryansk Oblast. It has more than 367,788 inhabitants (2007 estimate). It is the centre of Mahilyow voblast and the third largest city in Belarus. The city was founded in 1267. Since 14th century a part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, after the Union of Lublin and creation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it was transferred to The Crown as Mohylew or Mogilew.
The city flourished as one of the main nodes of the east-west and north-south trading routes. In 1577 king Stefan Batory granted it with city rights. After the First Partition of Poland it came into the hands of Imperial Russia and was the centre of the Mogilev guberniya. In years 1915–1917, during World War I, the Stavka, the headquarters of the Russian Imperial Army functioned in the city and the Tsar, Nicholas II, spent long periods here as Commander-in-Chief. In 1918 occupied by Germany and transferred to the short-lived Belarusian People's Republic.