Welcome to Tomsk

Magnificent in snow, but fun to be in at any time of the year, the university city of Tomsk boasts numerous examples of fine wooden buildings and has an animated cafe and art scene. The city has enjoyed the reputation as the ‘cultural capital of Siberia’ since the 1960s, when artists, writers and theatre and film directors were invited to take up residence here.

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Located on the River Tom, the city was founded in 1604 by the order of Tsar Boris Godunov as a military outpost against nomadic peoples. Gold was discovered in 1830, which boosted the fortunes of the city, but after the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which bypassed Tomsk and passed the area further to the south, economic development also moved away from the city. Instead, Tomsk became a university town. Tomsk benefited after World War II as factories were moved east, away from the conflict. It was closed to outsiders during the Cold War.

One of Siberia’s oldest cities, Tomsk was founded in 1604 and was a major trade outpost before the founding of Novosibirsk (then Novo-Nikolaevsk) and the subsequent relocation of the Trans-Siberian Railway line. With a huge and grand university, this is above all a city of learning, and today around one in every five residents is a student – hence the youthful, intellectual atmosphere.

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