Map of Russia - Tomsk Oblast (2008-03).svg

A bit of info on Tomsk – Tomsk (Russian: Томск) city is located in and is the administrative centre of Tomsk Oblast, located on the Tom River. It is one of the oldest towns in Siberia. Tomsk was established under a decree from Tsar Boris Godunov in 1604 after Toyan, the Tatar duke of Eushta, asked for the Tsar’s protection against Kirghiz robbers.

Population: 522,940 (2010 Census).

Average winter temperature: horrifically cold.

Notable people include:

Interesting fact: Tomsk was the name given by children’s author Elizabeth Beresford to one of her fictional characters in The Wombles, all of whom are named after places.

Top Sights:

  • Lenin Square – a jumbled collection of beautifully restored historic buildings interspersed with banal Soviet concrete lumps.
  • Resurrection Hill – When founded in 1604, Tomsk’s original fortress sat atop Resurrection Hill. For the city’s 400th anniversary, an impressive replica of its ‘Golden Gate’ was rebuilt in wood complete with domed central tower.
  • Wooden architecture – Tomsk’s greatest attraction is its ‘wooden-lace’ architecture – the carved windows and tracery on old log and timber houses.
  • Tomsk State University – The classically colonnaded main buildings of the Tomsk University lie in splendid leafy grounds, giving Tomsk the reputation of being the  ‘Oxford of Siberia’.

Tomsk is one of the most enjoyable cities in Siberia and has flourished in recent times as a university city. It now has half a dozen major academic establishments hence the youthful, intellectual atmosphere during term time.


One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn: This book isn’t strictly about Tomsk but it is about Siberia which is good enough for me.

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