Tomsk city is the administrative centre of the Tomsk
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.
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, Tomsk’s 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
In 1878 the Tomsk University, the first University in Siberia, was
founded. In 1896 the Technology Instutute and in 1902 — Teacher Institute was
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 Tomsk’s 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
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 world’s 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
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.
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.
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 See
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.
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 city’s 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