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Region centers: Tomsk


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TomskTomsk city is the administrative centre of the Tomsk Region.

In 1603, one of the Princes asked Tsar Boris Godunov to found a fortress on the Tom River to protect local people from the Mongol invasions. The city was founded in 1604 as a fortress and soon became the final destination for exiles, as many Siberian cities did.
The city was named after the river it stands on. In Khet language, Toom means the river. Khets are the most ancient tribes in Siberia. They obviously meant the big river they lived close to is the main one, the centre of life. The other sources say Toom means dark. The Tom River is deep and carries much loam, so the water might look dark.
When the Great Siberian Route passed through the city, Tomsks rapid development began.
In 1804 the city was named the province centre. The coat of arms of the city has the horse a symbol of horse transport on it.
At the same time gold was discovered and many people headed for Tomsk to try their luck. However, they soon found there were not much gold.
In 1878 the Tomsk University, the first University in Siberia, was founded. In 1896 the Technology Instutute and in 1902 Teacher Institute was founded.
In XIX century Tomsk was the largest city in Siberia. Many things changed after the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway. One story tells it was a ghastly miscalculation by Tomsks fathers they felt trains would bring noise and dust and would impede their horse route commerce. As the result, the closest Trans-Siberian station was built 80 km south, and Tomsk merchants found themselves in a remote and unfavourable location. As horse routes were not as effective and railway routes, the centre of commerce and then industry moved to Novosibirsk which lays 270 km from Tomsk.
On the other hand, the remote location of Tomsk made the city with the tree-lined streets a quiet provincial town.
In 1941, 129,183 people went to the front to fight against the German Army and 57,934 of them died. 79 people were honoured as the Heroes of the Soviet Union, thousands were awarded other military honours.
In 1944 the Tomsk region became a separate administrative and territorial division of the Soviet Union. In 1970 the construction of the worlds biggest oil and chemical plant began in Tomsk. On October 19, 1979 in honour of the 375th anniversary of the city, Tomsk was awarded the order of October Revolution. The city has never been renamed.

The City Today
Tomsk is an important industrial centre in the West Siberia. The industry of machine building and metal working is well developed here. There are also chemical plants and plants producing computer equipment, electrical devices as well as food, textile and paper.
Tomsk is the third largest education centre in Russia after Moscow and Saint-Petersburg. There is the regional centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Tomsk. The oldest Classic University in Siberia and the first Technical Institute east of Urals is located here. In different Universities of Tomsk students study medicine, teaching, architecture, economics, agriculture, law, military science, business and theology.
Tomsk is located 80 km from Trans-Siberian Railway which hampers to a certain extent effective railway communication. There are several passenger train stations in the city, a river port and an airport. Transport system of the city includes trams, trolleybuses and buses.
In Tomsk there are many trees on the streets. The respected University the first University in Siberia gives the city the atmosphere of a Siberian Oxford.

Places To SeeBogoyavlensky cathedral
The city has unique pieces of wooden architecture. The buildings of the Classic and Polytechnical Univerisities are included in the list of the most important cultural heritage buildings. The visitors might be interested in the impressive buildings of the City Hall, Philarmonic Society, Art Museum and Astashev Mansion built XVIII to XIX century.
There are several theatres in Tomsk, including Region Drama Theatre, Tomsk Drama Theatre, Puppet Theatre, Theatre for Young Spectator, Philharmonic Society, Big Concert Hall and others. There is a Regional History Museum located in the Astashev Mansion, Art Museum and the Art Gallery. In the Classic University, there are also museums of archaeology, paleontology, Siberian ethnography, zoology and mineralogy. The city also houses the oldest Botanical Gardens in Siberia.
The citys main attractions are perhaps the Voskresenskaya (Resurrection) Mountain and the Beloye (White) Lake. Among the churches and cathedrals of the city, the visitors might be interested in seeing Peter and Paul Cathedral at Krasnoarmeyskaya str, which is about 200 years old. This brick building with five silver domes looks fascinating. The tall yellow Ascension church is 2 km farther north along the Krasnoarmeyskaya str.
If you go 3 km south on Lenina Prospect, you will see the University and impressive memorial of the World War II.


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