Tomskaya region is located in the south-eastern part of the Western Siberian Plain, and covers an area of 314,400 square kilometers and borders with Novosibirskaya, Kemerovskaya, Omskaya, Tyumenskaya regions, and Krasnoyarsky region.
The population of the region is about 1 million people including 700,000 urban residents, and 300,000 living in rural areas. Thus 70 percent of the Tomskaya region population lives in cities such as Tomsk (475,500 people), Seversk (111,900), Strezhevoi (45,700), Asino (32,000), Kolpashevo (29,400), and Kedrovii (5,500).
The geographical location and climate fully correspond with the typical nature of Siberia with a quite warm (even hot from year to year) summer and cold winter that represents a special interest for foreign tourists. Nine of the 16 districts are in the extreme North with harsh weather.
The large territory of the region causes a heterogeneous landscape. It is a part of two nature zones, taiga and forest-steppe.
The territory has about 100,000 fresh water lakes. Eleven lakes have an area of more than 10 square kilometers. The largest lakes are Mirnoye, Varga-To, and Dikoye. Plenty of water basins contain considerable fish resources. Fifteen species of fish out of 33 available species are of significance for commercial fishery, the most valuable are sturgeon, white salmon, whitefish, and sterlet.
The region is also rich in mineral waters and curative mud (the Chazhemto, Karasevo, and Kirek lakes are known for its curative mud). Unfortunately, these resources are not heavily used except for some production of mineral water and attempts to use curative mud. Thus, there are some opportunities for the development of a resort network.
The region’s flora is one of the main components of its natural environment. Its diversity and resource potential are considerable. The total forest area is 54 percent of the region territory. Light-coniferous and pine forests prevail. There are unique forest tracts of dark-coniferous trees such as cedar, fir, and spruce. Birch and aspen are mostly spread deciduous/broad-leaved trees. The flora counts about 11,000 species including 700 herbs.
Large swamps occupy much of the plain area in the region. There is the world’s largest Vasyuganskoye swamp on the left bank of the Ob’ river. The swamp spans over a territory of 53,000 square meters. The flora of swamps is also rich with wild growing plants and berries such as cowberries, bilberries, cranberries, bog whortleberry, and currant.
There are 16 natural reserves (parks) located in the Alexandrovsky, Asinovsky, Verkhneketsky, Zyryansky, Kargasoksky, Krivosheinsky, Molchanovsky, Pervomaisky, Teguldetsky, Tomsky, Chainsky, and Shegarsky districts, 144 natural wonders in the region and unique collections of flora in the Siberian Botanical Garden (established in 1885).
The region’s fauna is represented by 60 species of mammalians, and 300 species of birds. Twenty-eight species of wild but commercially hunted animals such as north deer, elk, brown bear, trot, glutton, roe, wolf, and fox inhabit the region. There are also valuable fur animals: sables, ermines, squirrels, Siberian weasels and weasels in forests; muskrats, and otters along rivers and other water basin banks.
The varied landscape, and rich natural resources of the Tomskaya region represents huge potential for all types of tourism such as hiking and fishing.
Tomsk was founded in 1604 by decree of the Russian tsar Boris Godunov on the right bank of the river Tom at the confluence of the Tom and the Ushaika. According to historian Miller G.F., “even by a longer search one couldn’t have found a better place in this area”. In order to build a fortress, two hundred Cossacks arrived here under the command of V. Tyrkov and G. Picemsky. Since that time Tomsk took on special significance in conquest of people of other ethnic groups who were living to south of Tomsk.
There were a lot of ups and down in the history of Tomsk. The status of a town Tomsk obtained in 1629 and in 1643 the town burnt down. On this place a new one was built, which was a fortress, surrounded by a wooden wall with 6 towers and the diameter of about 50 sazhens.
In 1738 Coachmen Service appeared in Tomsk. It stimulated the development of numerous attendants along the Moscow-Siberia route: coachmen, blacksmiths and craftspeople. There appeared coaching inn. The town kept on growing.
In 1804 by the decree of Emperor Alexander Tomsk became the administrative center of a new Gubernia that included the present Altai Territory, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, East-Kazakhstan and Tomskaya regions and part of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. A new leaf in its history was turned. Town council, town hall, police department were established; among wooden houses stone houses began to appear: at first these were churches and administrative buildings and then houses of well-off people.
Since the end of ÕIÕ century Tomsk became a large scientific-enlightening center of Siberia: in 1888, Emperor Alexander III "by his sovereign will" opened the Tomsk University, the first behind the Ural Mountains. Afterwards technological, teachers training, medical and building universities were established.
After the revolution of 1917 Tomsk became part of the Siberian Territory and later of the West-Siberian Territory. In 1937 Tomsk and its nearby neighbors became part of the Novosibirskaya region.
Strong industrial growth began after 30 enterprises had been evacuated to Tomsk within the first year of the war. By the end of the war the industrial output was trebled. New branches of industry, such as electrical engineering, optomechanics and rubber engineering were developed, and machine building and metalworking as well as light and food industries expanded.
In August, 1944 an order was issued which decreed the formation of the Tomskaya region, since that time Tomsk had regained its status of one of the largest economic and administrative centers in Siberia.
Tomsk continues to be the town of science and human resources. Soon after the Great Patriotic War Tomsk became the world known center of nuclear research and production.
The post-war development of the Tomskaya region is in many ways connected with exploration and commercial development of oil and gas deposits. The first commercial oil influx occurred in the August of 1962 at the Sosninskoye oil field near the settlement of Alexandrovskoye. The settlement of Strezhevoy was selected for the support base for the development of commercial oil production. In 1966 the Oil Field Management Agency TOMSKNEFT was established.
In 1991 Toms was granted the status of the historical town. Its protective zone occupies the area of 950 ha. This historic reserved part preserved the townscape originality of stone buildings of the provincial town at the end of XIX – beginning of XX centuries and of wooden buildings decorated with ancient carving.
Culture and tourism
The city of Tomsk stands out from other cities for its wealth of historical monuments and large number of higher educational institutions and cultural centers. Much has been written about it, and many famous people have spent time here. Pushkin's great grandfather Hannibal was exiled here, and Chekhov made notes in his diary in a Tomsk hotel. Korolenko, Uspensky, Shishkov, Garin-Mikhailovsky, and many other outstanding Russian writers worked here.
Modern-day Tomsk with its well-developed infrastructure provides even the most demanding residents and guests with a multitude of opportunities for full relaxation. So you will never be bored when you visit this city.
Churches of various faiths coexist peacefully in Tomsk. You will be able to visit a Catholic church, a synagogue, a mosque, and Orthodox churches and hear accounts of different religions.
Tomsk is considered to be the "Athens of Siberia" and a student city. Tour guides will recount the history of the city's higher educational institutions and acquaint you with the latest professions you can acquire there.
In addition to numerous health resorts, the region also has children's health camps. For vacationers without health problems, there are recreation centers with comfort levels close to foreign standards of service. While relaxing, you can visit the city's theaters, museums, and exhibitions.
There are also plenty of leisure activities for young people in Tomsk. The city offers a wide choice of cafes, bistros, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and discotheques.
Tourists who like an active vacation in nature traveling through the forests or along the waterways will long remember sailing on a pleasure boat, fishing, and majestic pine forests with their variety of plants and wonderful animal life.
The Tomskaya region holds significant historic and cultural potential. A special motive for visiting the city by tourists is its historical, architectural, archaeological and cultural sights (wonders). There are 982 such sites officially registered by the state including 613 archaeological, 162 historical, 201 architectural, and 6 of art. The city of Tomsk and Narym village are included on the list of historic locations in the Russian Federation while Tomsk State and Polytechnic Universities were included in the State Code of Especially Valuable Objects of Cultural Heritage of the Russian Federation.
The region's capital is remarkable for its rich diversity of tourist locales. Despite its expanding territory the city retained its uniqueness in terms of landscape, architecture, number of parks, etc. There are many beautiful old stone and wooden buildings mostly in the center of the city. Many of the stone buildings in the central parts of the city were built in the 19th century
according to projects of famous architects from Moscow and St. Petersburg. There are some buildings that belong to historical architectural memorials on a national scale. The concentration of different beautiful wooden buildings in Tomsk is recognized as the highest in Russia. During Soviet times central Moscow television often used different pictures and short films with the houses as breaks between telecasts.
In addition to the numerous beautiful building, there are a large number of parks and gardens. Some are unique, such as the oldest Siberian Botanical Garden that was opened in 1885 at the University which possesses 10,000 species of different tropical and subtropical plants.
Both churches and cathedrals rise in Tomsk: St.Trinity cathedral (1845), the Ascension church (the 18th century), Peter and Paul cathedral (1911) and other.