Tomsk, the centre of Tomskaya oblast, is situated to the southeast of the West Siberian plain on the right bank of the river Tom 60 km from its flowing into the Ob. Distance to Moscow is 3500 km. The climate is continental. Average temperatures of January are -20, of July +18 degrees centigrade. Precipitations - 500 mm a year. It is a railway station on the line Bely Yar - Asino-Taiga that connects Tomsk with the Trans-Siberian railway. Besides it is a junction of highways (Tomsk - Yurga, etc.). Tomsk has own river port and airport. The population totals 504,7 thousand people. (1992).
Tomsk includes 4 city districts - Kirovsky, Leninsky, Oktyabrsky and Sovetsky.
Tomsk was founded in 1604 by order of Tzar Boris.
This new settlement arose in the land of a local Turkic prince Toyan, who became a Russian citizen promising Tzar Boris to strengthen Russian power in Siberia. The Tomsk fortress repeatedly repulsed attacks of Kirghiz and other steppe peoples. But on foundation of Yeniseisk and Krasnoyarsk in the first half of XVII century importance of Tomsk as a marginal fortress vanished.
In 1738 the coachmen's service was established. This time all the traffic passed through Tomsk that resulted in appearance of numerous coachmen, smiths and craftspeople. Here were opened inns and warehouses. The city and population grew. In 1804 Tomsk became the centre of new province. Here were founded local authorities. In the middle of XIX century Tomsk had 8 churches, there began construction of the Troitsky Cathedral (it was razed to the ground after the revolution) and 50 stone houses.
In 400 years Tomsk became equal to the cities of Central Russia in its economic, social and cultural potential. The Tomsk architecture is a mixture of architectural styles of different historical epochs.
In 1991 Tomsk was titled the historical city.
Present Tomsk is one of the largest industrial centres of Western Siberia. Industries developed here: the machine-building and metal working industries ("Sibkabel", "Sibelektromotor" production associations; the plants of bearings, cutting tools and manometers, the electromechanical, electric lamp and radio engineering plants, etc.), chemical (the chemical and pharmaceutical plants, etc.), woodworking (pencil, match and furniture factories), manufacture of building materials and the food-processing industry.
Tomsk is the oldest educational and scientific centre in Siberia. During a century here appeared the unique scientific, educational and technological complex often called the Siberian Athenes. There is a number of state higher educational institutions in Tomsk. They are the Classical University, Polytechnic University, Tomsk University of the automated control systems and radio electronics, Pedagogical University, Architectural and Building academy, Siberian Medical University, Military School of Communication and the non-governmental Economical and Legal college. In total there are 60 thousand students in Tomsk.
Tomsk takes the first place in Russia according to concentration of scientists. There are 47 scientific and research institutes here. Such sciences as philosophy, law, history, philology, ethnography, linguistics, medicine (cardiology, oncology, pharmacology, genetics, mental health, balneology and physiotherapy) are paid great attention here.
A lot of world-famous scientists contributed to Tomsk science. They are the geologists Z.A.Obruchev and М.А. Usov, mathematician I.M.Vinogradov, chemist and physicist N.N.Semenov, physicians N.N.Burdenko, A.G.Savinykh, N.V.Vershinin, D.D.Yablokov, S.P. Karpov, physicist V.D. Kuznetsov, А.А. Vorobiyev and many others.
There are the following theatres: the Drama and Puppet Theatres, the Young Spectator's Theatre. The Philharmonic society. The Tomsk Museum of local lore, the Arts Museum and the University Museums of archeology and ethnography, zoology, mineralogy and paleontology of Siberia. Besides here one can find the Siberian Botanical gardens named after P.N.Krylov.