In 2004 Tomsk celebrated its 400th anniversary. For the period from March 25 to October 7, 1604 the first stockade was built here by the Russian Cossacks on the banks of the Tom River. The history of Tomsk keeps many secrets. For example, during excavations underground passages were found here, in which two horsemen can cross, as well as burial people in wooden decks and a skeleton of a Mongolian warrior. All this can be seen in local museums. But the main thing for what it’s worth to come to Tomsk is Tomsk lace — fine carving. The wooden mansions, preserved in one of the quarters of the city, are decorated with it. One can see these unique openwork houses only in Tomsk!
For four centuries Tomsk grew out from a sentinel stockade into a huge city. Since its foundation it has developed through trade and transportation. Tomsk was the first transport hub from Europe to Asia. There were times when there were more horses than residents in Tomsk. It is no coincidence that today the coat of arms of the city is decorated with a horse. Tomsk merchants were the first to supply Chinese tea to the royal court.
At the beginning of the XIX century gold mines opened in the vicinity of Tomsk. Various crafts were created. There were more than thirty of them. In 1878 the first Siberian university appeared in the city. A little later in 1900 Tomsk Technological Institute was opened. So, gradually Tomsk became a city of universities and students. Production also grew. By the beginning of the 20th century Tomsk had 200 plants and factories. Evacuation of 30 enterprises from the west of the country to Tomsk during the Great Patriotic War significantly changed the life of the city. After the war Tomsk became the leading industrial and scientific center of Siberia.
Today Tomsk is a modern city, while maintaining the quarters of the old buildings. A week is not enough to see all the sights of Tomsk. There are many interesting houses, museums, parks and churches of several confessions here. There is a large German diaspora in Tomsk for several centuries. And in the history of the city 9 governors were ethnic Germans.
It is interesting to walk around Tomsk at any time of the year. In summer it’s good to spend time on the embankment of the Tom River, in parks and squares. Tomsk is an exceptionally green city. In winter there is white snow here and it’s easy to breathe. In the restaurants of the city they offer Siberian dumplings and bear cutlets. Local cuisine is using the gifts of the taiga and rivers. They fish an excellent fish in the Tom River and its tributaries. Traditional dishes that are worth tasting here are ukha from several types of fish and slices of frozen muksun and nelma. Here one can taste sterlet and sturgeon and even delicious taimen — a long-liver among salmonids. In addition to fish, in Tomsk restaurants «posikunchiki» — very small pies with pumpkin or lamb filling are served. Their recipe came here from the Urals. People make hundreds of them, freeze immediately, and then fry in a frying pan.
Taiga presents Tomsk citizens with cedar nuts too. They are harvested here in tons. Nut flour, unique cedar milk and cream are made of cedar nuts. Do not forget about the wonderful Siberian honey. Tomsk is a center of Siberian honey. From here the beekeeping developed further to the Altai. «Tomsk honey is taiga’s gold» — they say in the city. One can bring candies Tomsk Ptichka (Birdie) to his friends as a souvenir from Tomsk. They are produced by a local factory. According to gourmet reviews, Tomsk «ptichye moloko» (bird’s milk) is the best in Russia!
Tomsk beer is another brand. Beer has been brewed in Tomsk since 1884. The factory was founded by German — Carl Kruger. Tomsk Beer Factory takes a worthy place in the Russian beer market.
Well, if you do not need edible souvenirs, then the best memorable gift will be dishes and ornaments from birch bark. The bark correctly removed from the birch is durable and keeps the liquid well. They make mugs, containers for salt and tea and jewel-boxes of birch bark. And from the cedar wood they cut out sets for playing chess and backgammon as well as souvenir Tomsk fish.
The young city of Tomsk with its universities, students, «Tomsk lace», numerous parks and squares in the center of the city is always hospitable and generously shares its history with everyone to whom it is interesting
Bogashevo International Airport 20 km far from Tomsk serves flights from Moscow and Nizhnevartovsk, Novosibirsk, Barnaul, Yekaterinburg and other cities. The flight from Moscow takes 4 hours. One can get to Tomsk from Moscow by train. Travel time is two days. There are also bus services to major Siberian cities.