| Tomsk State University, Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radio-electronics, Siberian State Medical University, Tomsk State University of Architecture and Building|
Tomsk (Russian: ; ) is a city and the administrative center of Tomsk Oblast, Russia, located on the Tom River. One of the oldest towns in Siberia, Tomsk celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2004. Population: 524,669?(2010 Census); 487,838?(2002 Census); 501,963?(1989 Census).
Tomsk was established under a decree from Tsar Boris Godunov in 1604 after Toyan, the Tatar duke of Eushta, asked for the Tsars protection against Kirghiz bandits. The Tsar sent 200 Cossacks under the command of Vasily Tyrkov and Gavriil Pisemsky to construct a fortress on the bank of the Tom River, overlooking what would become the city of Tomsk. Toyan ceded the land for the fortress to the Tsar.
In 1804, the government selected Tomsk to become the seat of the new Tomsk Governorate, which would include the modern cities of Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, and Krasnoyarsk, as well as the territories which are now in Eastern Kazakhstan. The new status brought development and the city grew quickly.
The discovery of gold in 1830 brought further development to Tomsk in the 19th century; however, when the Trans-Siberian Railway bypassed the city in favor of the village of Novonikolayevsk (now Novosibirsk), development began to move south to connect with the railway. In time, Novosibirsk would surpass Tomsk in importance.
In the mid-19th century, one fifth of the citys residents were exiles. However, within a few years, the city would be reinvented as the educational center of Siberia with the establishment of Tomsk State University and Tomsk Polytechnic University. By World War II, every twelfth resident of the city was a student, giving rise to the citys informal name - Siberian Athens.
After the October Revolution of 1917, the city was a notable center of the White movement, led by Anatoly Pepelyayev and Maria Bochkareva, among others. After the victory of the Red Army, Tomsk was incorporated into West Siberian Krai and later into Novosibirsk Oblast.
As in many Siberian cities, Tomsk became the new home for many factories relocated out of the warzone at the beginning of the World War II. The resulting growth of the city led the Soviet government to establish the new Tomsk Oblast, with Tomsk serving as the administrative center.
During the Cold war Tomsk was one of many places to be designated a closed city, to which outsiders and, in particular, foreigners, were denied access. In 1949 matters were taken a stage further when a secret city, known as "Tomsk-7" (or sometimes simply as "Postbox 5") was founded 15 kilometres (9 miles) from Tomsk, and the new settlement became the home of the Tomsk Nuclear Plant (subsequently renamed Sibirskaya Nuclear Power Plant), the countrys first industrial scale nuclear power station. Tomsk-7 received municipal status in 1956 and was renamed Seversk in 1992.
Tomsk has the oldest electrical grid in Siberia. There are three powerstations in the city:
Tomsk has many local cultural institutions including several drama theaters as well as a childrens theater and a puppet theater. Major concert venues in the city include the Conservatory Concert hall and the Tomsk Palace of Sport. The city also boasts cultural centers dedicated to German, Polish and Tatar languages and culture.
One of the citys prominent theaters was destroyed in an act of terrorism in 1905. The Korolevsky Theater (built in 1884–85) was being used by a group of communist revolutionaries when the theater was attacked and set on fire by members of the Black Hundred, a hard-line nationalist organization. Those who escaped the flames were gunned down by Black Hundred members waiting outside the theater. Estimates put the number of casualties between 200 and 1000.
There are a number of museums in Tomsk devoted to various subjects, most notably art, local history and wood carving. There is also a Museum of Oppression, housed in a former KGB dungeon. Tomsk State University has a number of small museums with exhibits on archaeology, paleontology, zoology, as well as a herbarium and a botanical garden
As in many other cities in the former Soviet Union, the revolutionary government destroyed a number of old churches in the city including two that had existed since the 17th century. However, Tomsk managed to save some of its churches by transforming them into machine shops, warehouses, archives, and even residential buildings. Since the end of the communist era some of the churches have been renovated and returned to their congregations.
Tomsk is well known for its intricate "gingerbread" decoration of traditional wooden houses in the area. However, the number of old homes in this style is decreasing due to redevelopment or some of them catching fire, as the structures have little to no fire protection.
Trud (Labor) Stadium, in central Tomsk is the base for matches with the FC Tom Tomsk, the citys professional soccer club. The teams 2004 promotion to the Russian Premier League gave local fans a chance to see some of the nations best teams play at the citys own stadium.
Tomsk has many local media outlets including the TV2 television station, the radio stations Radio Siberia and Echo of Moscow in Tomsk along with several newspapers (Tomskii Vestnik, Tomskaya Nedelya, Krasnoye Znamya and Vechernii Tomsk).
In April 2006 Tomsk received international media attention as the venue of a major summit on economic cooperation, held in the city between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Tomsk was the name given by childrens author Elizabeth Beresford to one of her fictional characters The Wombles, all of whom are named after places.