The first mention of Turov (in Belarussian
- Turau) in written sources ("Povest vremennych let") was in 980. This
time it was the center of Turau Principality. There are a lot of legendes
connected with the name of this belarussian town. According to the one
of the legends the name "Turau" was created from the personal
name of on the Variag (Scandinavian) dukes - Tur (or Tura).
Since the end of XIII - the beginning of XIV century Turau was in the squad of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania ( in XV century - the possession of Lithuania Duke Skirgayla and afher his death- of famous belarussian Astrozhskiya family). In the middle of XVI century Turau was a part of Troky (today - Trakai in Lithuania) and in Pinsk povet of Brest voevodstvo.
In the result of Tatarian invasion in 1502 and 1521 Turau suffered seriously. In 1535 Russian troops of duke Fedor Ovchina-Telepnev-Obolensky destroyed Turau and Turau region.
The first mention of jews in Turau was the first quater of XVII century. According to the decision of Lithuanian Vaad ( a council of main Lithuanian rabbies and community leaders) since 1623 Turau jews were under control of Pinsk kagal (community).
The inhabitants of Turau gave their support to the insurrection of the Ukranian Kozaks of Bogdan Chmelnitsky. It was a period of awful tragedy for the Ukrainian and South Belarussian Jewry. Chmelnitsky kozaks and their supporteres organized bloody jewish pogroms. The chief of the Grand Duchy army (vialiki getman litouski) famous Yanush Radzivil in 1649 attacked the kozaks in Turau. The majority of kozaks and Chmelnitsky supporters were killed. In 1655, during the war between Moscow of tsar Alexey Mikhailovich and Rech Paspalitaya (a union of the Polish kingdom and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania), Russian troops occupied Turau. Occupation and the policy of jewish pogroms of Moscow ruler were the continuation of the terrible epoch for Belarussian Jewry.
In 1695 Polish king and Lithuanian duke Yan III Sabeski gave to Pinsk and Turau catholic bishops a right for the special taxes from the Turau inhabitants and kagal. More then 316 jews lived in Turau in 1765.
In 1793 Russian troops occupied Turau. Turau bacame a part of Mozyr (in Belarussian - Mazyr) uezd in Minsk gubernia, the possession of Sologub. In 1793 in Turau were about 500 houses, 7 churches abd a synagogue. In 1797-1800 English trade companies of Pitt and Forster had their business in the forests of Turau region. It was a very bad period for local ecology.
The main occupations of Turau Jewry in the XIX century were small trade. Their customers were belarussian peasants. Jews sold them soap, candles, nails and other important things. Also, Turau jewish community took an active part in the miastechka (Yiddish- shtetl) wodden and fish trade. On of the perculiarities of Turau region jews was their role in agriculture. In 1886 more then 105 jewish farmers families lived in Turau region.
Great damage for Turau economy was the fire of 1834 : the major part of shtetl, two mills, several plants and so on were destroyed by the fire.
1447 jews lived in Turau in 1847. The results of the famous Russian census of 1897 for Turau were: 4.290 inhabitants - 2.253 jews.
In the beginning of XX centruy Turau jewish community had 3 prayer houses and a private female school. Also, in Turau were a post-office, water mill, a wharf on the river Pripiat. The great events in Turau life were two fairs: on the 17th of January and on the 29th of June. .
After the World War I, February and Bolshevik Turau, since 1924 , was know as the center of Turau region in Mazyr akruga. In 1925 the population of miastechka was about 25.070 people: 22.197 - belarussians, 2.808 - jews, 32 - poles, 25 - russians, 6 - germans, 2 - others. Turau had 32 stores, timber plant and so on. Turau Jewry had two synagogues and one rabbi. Soviet authoritites organized in Turau a professional and political ocorcles in Yiddish.
In 1926 miastechka had 5.393 inhabitants. In 1931 Yurka Snitko wrote in his article in the newspaper "Shliachy kalektivizacii" (N8 - "The steps of collectivisation") about jewish agricultural settlement ("artel") in Turau region. Since 1930 Turau had a special region newspaper ("Leninskie zavety" - Lenin`s testament).
On the 22th of June, 1941, Nazi Germany invaded Soviet Union. They occupied Turau on the 14th of July, 1941. The fascists destroyed Turau jewish community.I On the 5th of July, 1944, Red Army liberated Turau.
Not far from Turau, between the marshes,
is situated a lake with two names "Kniaz "("Prince") and "Zhid" ("Jew").
This lake was known as the possession of prince Alel`kavich-Slutski,
in the second half of XVII century - of famous magnat family - Radzivil,
later - of Vitgenshtein. A legend says, that Alel`kavich-Slutski
dukes hated his brother. He put him in a special castle on the lake. Later
the flood destroyed this castle. Prince died under the
ruins of the castle. After this events the lake recieved a
Another legend says, that lake had only kosher fish: pikes, perches and others.
Also, according to the next version of the legend Radzivil lived in the castle on a lake with his jewish mistress. She died in the result of the flood. And the lake recieved a name "Zhid".