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Tomsk deserves the title of an extraordinary city: it adores tourists from other Russian towns, while the locals habitually grumble about its imperfections, but always miss it if happen to be far away. And it is not concrete avenues and white stone quarters of new blocks of flats that they remember, but ancient curving and at the same time cozy streets of old Tomsk. Tomsk is as a matter of a fact comprised of two towns: an old one built primarily in the 19th century and the new one surrounding old buildings.

Founded as a fortress in 1604, Tomsk became a recognized foothold for diplomacy and trade on the way to Middle Asia and China. In 1804 the town turned into the centre of a huge Siberian government, one of the territorial subdivisions of Russia that time. Tomsk attracted merchants and manufacturers, who contributed to the prosperity of the city. During 30-40 years the look of the city changed so much that some historians bracketed Tomsk together with other Russian cities located in the European part of the country in terms of architecture, luxury stores and fuss in the streets.

Tomsk seemed to have had all chances to develop into a successful and popular city but for one insidious fact: it was left off the Siberian Railway. Building a railroad to the main line never helped, thus, Tomsk failed to keep its status of a rapidly growing Siberian city. However, being left behind Tomsk luckily preserved the centre of the city, which fell asleep and gradually turned into a genuine museum complex.

Voskresensk Mountain is a place where Tomsk was started. The south point of the mountain together with lying there street still have the name of Obrub meaning timber blocking built as a fortification.

Museums and theatres

Tomsk can boast two drama theatres, a Theatre for Youth, a Puppet theatre, a Philharmonic Hall, 6 cinemas, several culture centres, a sport centre, night clubs, a symphony orchestra, centres of Polish, German and Tatar culture, stadiums, swimming pools, bowling clubs and many other entertainment facilities.

In Tomsk you can also visit the Regional Museum of Local Lore, History and Economy, art galleries, exhibition halls, the Museum of Wooden Architecture, the Museum of City History, the NKVD Memorial House of Detention, a Botanic Garden and a planetarium.

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