The first time Homel was mentioned in 1142. It was called Homiy at that time. It was founded by the Radimichi tribe many centuries ago, the settlement that would later bear the name Homel appeared on the right bank of the river Sozh. Abounding in water, the winding river surrounded the settlement on three sides. In the nearby areas, primeval forests, full of deep lakes and boggy swamps, spread for hundreds of kilometers. Countless flocks of birds and a great variety of wild animals inhabited the dense woods. Among them were boars, elks,deer, bears, wolves, etc. Lakes and rivers adorned with reed were home to an abundant variety of fish, wild geese, ducks, and swans.
The town came into the structure of the Chernigov Principality from the end of the 10th century and to the middle of the 12th century. After that it was under dominion of Lithuanian and Polish princes.
The first breakup of RzeczPospolita happened in 1772, resulting in Homel's annexation by Russia. Prior to the annexation since 1730, Homel was the property one of the most powerful Polish magnates Prince Mihal Chartoryjski. He collected the profits from his estate but paid rare visits to it as he occupied a demanding position of the Chancellor of the Great Lithuanian Princedom. After Homel became part of Russia, Chartoryjski remained its owner, but unfortunatly not for very long. Catherine II demanded an oath of allegiance from the land governors, and Prince Chartoryjski chose not to take one. Homel soon after passed into the hands of the state.
Shortly thereafter Catherine presented Homel to Count Petr Aleksandrovich Rumiantsev in reward for the triumphant role he played in victory over the Turks. Rumiantsev was among the elite of that age.
In 1785 on a bank of the Soge a stone palace was founded by Rumyantsev. Its construction was finished by the Rumyantsev`s sons and by its next owner Prince Paskewicz in 1837.
At the end of the 19th century a cathedral was built near the palace. It was St. Peter and Paul Cathedral. At the second half of the 19th century a chapel was constructed. There are the Paskeviches were buried in it. Ilyinskaya church built in18th century was kept in the town.