Tomsk is a city and the administrative center of Tomsk oblast, located on the Tom River.
It was founded in 1604. The discovery of gold in 1830 brought development to Tomsk. However, when in 1903 the Trans-Siberian railway came into operation, but it didn’t go directly through Tomsk, which turned it into a provincial city.
In the mid-19th century one-fifth of the city’s 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, founded in 1880, and Tomsk Polytechnic University, founded in 1896. By World War II, every twelfth resident of the city was a student, giving rise to the city’s name – the Siberian Athens.
Like many Siberian cities, Tomsk became the new home for many factories relocated out of the war zone from 1941.
During the Cold War, Tomsk became one of many designated closed cities, which outsiders and foreigners could not visit. In 1949 matters went a stage further with the establishment of a secret city, known as Tomsk -7, also as Postbox 5, 15 km (9 m) north-west of Tomsk, the new settlement became the home of the Tomsk Nuclear Plant, subsequently renamed the Sibirskaya Nuclear Power Plant; the Soviet Union’s first industrial-scale nuclear-power station. Tomsk 7 received municipal status in 1956 and was renamed Seversk in 1992.
Tomsk is famous for its architecture and universities. Wooden architecture is the hallmark and highlight of the city, and Tomsk has one of Russia’s highest student populations.