To do and to see
The best time to visit Tomsk is in from June to September. The sunny, warm days are perfect for taking walks in the city center and residential neighborhoods. But even if you are not lucky with the weather you can always find something to do. There are 17 museums in Tomsk, including the Museum of Tomsk History, the Museum of Slavonic Mythology, and the Museum of Wooden Architecture. Moreover, every university has its own museums, open for public, such as museum of zoology, paleontology, mineralogy etc., displaying collections of universities. There is also a planetarium in Tomsk where one can make interesting observations from an observation site. Tomsk Regional Museum gives an in-depth look at how the peoples of Siberia once lived. For those who want something special, it’s imperative to visit the KGB Memorial Museum. Located in the original Tomsk KGB headquarters, it is a reminder of the terror that saturated the Communist years and the many labor and concentration camps that were set up in the Tomsk region. The holding cells for prisoners also contain their stories of survival; a rotating exhibit honors the art, literature, and lives of those who were brave enough to fight against and tell about their experiences. Tomsk museum is the only one like it in the country, and in its guestbook visitors can see Solzhenitsyn’s signature as well as the testimonials by other honorable guests.
Wooden houses, like those out of a favorite Russian fairy tale, line the streets offering a pleasant historical tour through the traditional architecture. Here like in no other city the whole array of preserved wooden buildings of late XIX- early XX centuries turned the city into an open air museum. Never-ending vivid imagination and ingenuity of decorative patterns which create a unique image of wooden mansions inspire unconscious admiration.
Tour around Tomsk
During this guided tour you will visit the Voskresenskaya hill, see the fortified stockaded town and monument to the place from where Tomsk came to be. Visit the Museum of Tomsk and take pictures dressed as a warchief, boyar or an archer of the time. Climb the observation tower to get the bird-eye view of the city.
You will walk the first cobblestone-covered street of Tomsk and see one of the most beautiful churches of Tomsk. You will take a walk around the Governor’s Quarter and take pictures with the city’s most famous statues.
Fishing on the Siberian river Ob
Fishing on the Siberian river Ob
Tomsk region sits in the heart of Siberia along the middle of the river Ob which runs for 1065 km through its territory. There are over 18 thousand rivers (1620 of them over 10 km long), streams and other watercourses in the region. The river Tom, to which the city owes its name, is one of the major tributaries to Ob. The rivers of Tomsk region are inhabited by pike, zander, perch, ide, burbot, dace, sturgeon, roach and carp, all of which attract numerous fishermen.
Tomsk region is one of the few places in Russia for trophy fishing. If choosing this option, please make sure to have the appropriate clothing and shoes. Fishing tackle will be provided by the organizers.
Memorial Museum «NKVD house of detention»
The museum is situated in basement of building where from 1923 till 1944 was Tomsk PCIA department (exposition territory – 200 square meters). In the territory near museum was placed Public Garden of Memory, memorial to victims of political terror (1992), memorial to deported Kalmyks (2002), memorial to repressed Poles (2004), repressed Estonians (2008) and Latvians (2011). Nowadays museum and garden represent historical and architectural complex that is a characteristic feature of cultural identity of Tomsk.
The constant exposition includes a reconstructed prison corridor and cell for persons under investigation and interior of investigator’s room. In 4 museum halls are situated the following exhibitions: “Chronicles of repression in Tomsk”, “The Big terror”, “Cross of the Executed”, “Tragedy of Belostok”,”BFMs”, “Their tragic fortunes”, “The priest’s fortune”, “Kolpashevsky yar”, “Gulag and the deportation to Narimsky krai”, “Prison underground tunnel”, “Falling into oblivion…”.
The exposition also includes personal stands with biographical information, copies and authentic documents of investigative cases, pictures, playing cards, photo albums, handicraft from wood and stone made by prisoners.
There’s also a library, collection of archival documents and publications from newspapers attached to our museum. This allows visitors to familiarize themselves better with the tragic periods of Russian history.
M. B. Shatilov Tomsk Regional Museum of Local History
75 Lenina street, Tomsk
Phone: +7 (3822) 51-29-35
One of the largest museums in Siberia, Tomsk Regional Museum of Local History was opened to the public in 1922 when the first exhibit was held in the former mansion of gold producer I. D. Astashev.
Over the years, several generations of museum staff have amassed extensive collections of artifacts. The museum fund includes over two million items from a wide range of periods, from Paleolithic to the present day, and covering the cultures of indigenous peoples and colonists of the Middle Ob region with over 11 thousand items in its ethnographic collection.
The museum holds a unique collection of over 1300 items from an Old Believers’ lodge, valuable collections of manuscripts and early printed books, old furniture, clocks, pottery, weaponry and many more.
Museum of Slavic Mythology
Museum of Slavic Mythology. The museum exhibits a unique collection of paintings in the genre of Slavic mythology. You have a chance to see the masterpieces by Russian artists carrying on the tradition of national Romantic style.
Mythological believes of Slavs, heroic tales, folk tales and traditions.
You will have a chance to paint matryoshka dolls during a master class.
Tomsk Museum of Fine Arts
“Felt Memories” – an exhibition by Irina Andreeva, one of the best puppet artists in Russia who has been working with felt sculpture since 1996. Inspired by the artist’s own childhood and her children, her works resemble black and white photographs, gentle and personal, expressed in the warmest medium possible.
“Dialogue” – an exhibition by Leontiy Usov and Konstantin Fomin, this is a dialogue between the two masters as they share their moments of inspiration with each other and with Tomsk. Famous for his unique style, Leontiy Usov is the artist behind the sculpture of Anton Chekhov which has become a symbol of Tomsk. Konstantin Fomin is a painter much of whose career is connected to theater and literature, where he creates illustrations and stage design.
Museum of History of Tomsk State University
The Museum of History at Tomsk State University was established by order of Ministry of Higher and Specialised Secondary Education of the RSFSR in 1984. Currently, the museum has over 10,000 items, many of which are authentic documents and photographs, books and memorabilia of famous scientists, university awards and gifts. All artefacts are systematised in subject-chronological order; a special part of them is comprised of personal collections of teachers and students.
The concept of the museum’s exposition is to reflect characteristics of the creation and development of Tomsk University within changing political and socio-economic conditions in the country, constantly upholding the highest university traditions. Museum exhibits, some of which are unique relics, reveal educational, scientific and socio-educational activities of faculty members, researchers and university students for more than 130 years since the establishment of one of the oldest universities in Russia (founded in 1878).
The Zoological Museum was founded in 1887. The basis for establishing the museum was a collection of animals from the Arctic Ocean, obtained from the expedition of famous polar explorer and scientist Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld during his voyage across the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean onboard the ship “Vega”. The highest value had a multiple research collection of bird pelts from Kuldja and Semirechye donated to the museum by the Governor General of the steppe region of Russia, Gerasim Kolpakovskiy; and also donations of a collection of butterflies from Scandinavia and the surrounding areas of St. Petersburg made by St. Petersburg philanthropist, Sidorov.
The museum has three exhibition halls, a research and bone room, and a restoration workshop.
Volumes of collections gathered in the museum consist of about 120,000 copies.
The most valuable of them is a research collection (35,000 items) which includes: carcasses of mammals – 7,500; bird’s carcasses – 17,000; osteological collection -3,000; oological collection – 1,000; There is also a collection of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates presented in both liquid and dry preservation.
Natural History Museum
The founder and first supervisor of the museum, founded in 1926, was Professor V.A. Hahlov, who subsequently headed his school of paleobotanists. First paleontological collections at Tomsk State University began to develop prior to its opening in 1888 through private donations. In the future, these collections comprised “golden portfolio” of the museum.
Rare collections from the lost locations, which are preserved in our museum, are not only of great scientific, but also historical value. For example, a collection of famous zolengofen shales (outskirts of the town called Zolengofen in Germany) with prints of fish, algae, dragonflies, water spider, long-tailed crayfish (Macrura), horseshoe crabs and molluscs.
Subsequently, these collections comprised “golden portfolio” of the museum. Further accumulation of the regional collection artefacts refers to the second stage of the museum’s development and occurred as a result of geological exploration in Siberia. Collections were extended by adding items of Carboniferous and Permian flora from the coal-bearing basins of Siberia.
Pride of the museum is one of the world’s finest collections of the first land plants “psilophytes” collected in the Devonian intermountain basins in southern Siberia by Professor A.R. Ananiev and his apprentice L.I. Bystritsky. Carboniferous lycopsids plants of Siberia represent a significant portion of paleobotanical collection, numerous Jurassic plants from drill-hole cores of the West Siberian Plain, as well as coal-strip mines of Kuzbass.
Paleozoological collections are varied by systematic composition. The most significant are the collections of rugose coral, Paleozoic bryozoans and Stromatoporata. In addition to these collections multiple-aged invertebrates are kept in the museum: brachiopods, fish, ammonites, trilobites and many other fossils with are not only demonstrational, but also have scientific interest.
In the late 60’s of XX century micropalaeontological research has been developing due to the expansion of oil and gas exploration in Western Siberia; also there has been the formation of collections of different groups of microfauna – multiple-aged foraminifera, radiolarians, Ostracods, Conodonts, currently representing valuable factual material from hundreds of wells drilled in this region.
Exhibitions displayed in the museum contain reconstructed skeletons of the main representatives of Mammoth fauna – fossils of bison, mammoth and woolly rhinoceros. The most valuable parts – skulls, jaws with teeth of mammoths and mammoth calves, skull fragments and skeletons of woolly rhinoceros, bison, horses, the steppe elephants (Mammuthus trogontherii), deer, cave bear and a lion, saiga antelope and many others, are also exhibited in specially designed display cases and stands in the demonstration hall of the museum. Discoveries of two complete skeletons of the Early Cretaceous Psittacosaurus in the south-east of Western Siberia near the village Shestakovo discovered in 1998 by A.V. Voronkevich became a sensation. Since 2000, the skeletons have been kept in the museum in a specially equipped sarcophagus, preserving their natural position in monolith rock.
Museum of the History of Physics
The exhibits and stands with photographs of the TSU’s museum of the history of physics will tell you about the history of their creation, the development of physics in the University of Tomsk and in Siberia.
The museum is unique. It was practically created by one man – a senior lecturer of the Faculty of Physical at TSU, Pavel Kondratyev; and it contains a lot of interesting archive records, photographs and equipment. Many devices, which are now the museum’s exhibits, were brought to Tomsk in 1888 by professor and physicist N.A. Gezehus, who was the first rector of Tomsk University. Bell’s phones, for example, can be of great interest. Invented in 1879, this phone was a novelty at the moment of the foundation of the university. Also N.A. Gezehus acquired more sophisticated phones created by Golubitsky and glass phone models used to demonstrate to students. The museum also holds devices acquired by him for scientific research work, such as, for example, a string electrometer specially manufactured in accordance with the order placed by the first rector of St. Petersburg University.
In 1896 F.Ya. Kapustin purchased the first X-ray machine for Tomsk University.
More than 1,000 devices are collected in the museum of the history of physics, many thousands of photographs, books, monographs, articles containing information about the colossal development of physics in Siberia and in Tomsk.
One of the oldest museums in this complex is the mineralogical museum, which was founded in 1888 by Professor A.M. Zaitsev. Since the time of its establishment the museum has been receiving not only mineralogical collections, but also exhibits on geology, petrography and paleontology.
Early exhibits of the museum were the first collections of minerals, rocks and fossils donated by individual geologists, mining engineers, public figures and institutions of higher education.
Ever since its opening, the mineralogical museum was regularly replenished with many valuable collections. These were collections of minerals and ores from polymetallic deposits of Ore Altai, iron-ore deposits of the Altai-Sayan region, tin ore and polymetallic deposits of Central Asia and the Far East, rare-metal pegmatites of Mongolia, Pamir, the Enisei Ridge.
Currently, the museum’s collection includes more than 50,000 samples.
P. N. Krylov Herbarium
The Herbarium at Tomsk Imperial University was founded in 1885 by the botanist P.N. Krylov. Currently, Tomsk University Herbarium is among the three largest Russian Herbaria. Over a 115 year history of the vegetation of Siberia is authentically reflected in the fine collections of the Herbarium: collections of Western, Eastern and Prienisey Siberia include more than 200,000 items. Extensive collections of flora of Central Asia, Tuva and Mongolia, a general herbarium collection of specimens containing plants from the flora of Europe, America, East Asia, etc. are also stored in the Herbarium.
The Herbarium has a rich library of botanical literature, comprising about 12,000 publications. Particularly valuable are the works of the classical of Botanist – Linnaeus, De Candolle, Ledebour, Pallas, Bunge and others, published in the 18-19 centuries.
Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography of Siberia
The museum was established by the future trustee of the West Siberian school district and the builder of Siberian University, Professor V.M. Florinsky. The foundation date was 6th of December 1882 – the day of the 300th anniversary since the annexation of Siberia to Russia. By that date, the entrepreneur, M.K. Sidorov, presented the museum with the first major archaeological collection of “Tobolsk Antiques” of the artist S.K. Znamensky. Museum collections in archeology, ethnography, history, numismatics, bonistics, phaleristics, medalistics, sections of Fine Arts and documentary sources at the first stage and until the beginning of the 1920s, were formed from private donations of representatives of different social groups of the population of Siberia and the European part of Russia, from collections of disbanded Siberian museums and individual acquisitions of University. During the Soviet period a collection was formed on the basis of previous collections and today it has about 300,000 items, which is more than half of the museum collections of the whole Tomsk region.
Archaeological collections gathered from the late XIX to early XXI centuries in Scandinavia, the Black Sea region, Transurals region, Western, Central and Southern Siberia, the Far East, Kazakhstan and Mongolia contain items used for spiritual sphere and everyday life of the ancient and medieval cultures of the vast region. The earliest artefacts related to the Old Stone Age. Their age is determined by the tens of thousands of years. The finest exhibit in the palaeolithic collection is the tusk of a mammoth covered with engravings. Such finds are rare and are the pride of the largest museums in the world.
In the collection from Rostovskinsky burial ground dated back to XIV–XIII B.C. there are unique items of bronze armour – a curved combat knife and socketed axe. The top of the knife handle is decorated with a volumetric sculpture of a skier pulled by a horse. On the surface of the axe apart from the geometric pattern there is an engraving of a mountain sheep.
Rare books section in the Research Library
The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section was established in 1945. Currently, the collection is comprised of about 100,000 items. There are various subject-chronological collections, 19 private book collections, previously owned by famous writers, scientists and public figures of Russia of XIX-XX centuries; as well as 14 personal archives of a number of well-known Siberian figures – G.N. Potanin, N.I . Naumova and P.I. Makushin.
The Manuscript Collection includes 730 Russian Slavic manuscripts dated back to the XVI – XX centuries, as well as about 230 Western and Oriental manuscripts, the earliest of which is written in Latin and dates back to the XIV century.
Printed books are distributed in various collections. First of all, it is the collection of books of Cyrillic printing with more than 637 items and including publications of the XVI-XX centuries. Among them, for example, there is “The Bible” printed by Ivan Fedorov in a stockaded town in 1581, “Arithmetics…” by L. Magnitsky published in Moscow in 1703, “The Apostle” published in Moscow in 1631 and acquired during one of the archeographic expeditions, which are regularly held in Tomsk region, etc.
The Collection of western publications includes books published in various European cities in the XV-XVII centuries including 26 incunabula, among which is the essay by M. Carcano “Sermonarium de peccatis per adventium et per dues quardragesivas” printed in Basel in 1479, etc. Books printed in the Russian civil type in the XVIII- the1st half of XIX century are also placed into separate collections.
A distinctive feature of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Library of Tomsk University is that the collection contains personal book collections, previously owned by famous writers, scientists, local historians, literary enthusiasts, public and political figures of Russia of XIX – XX centuries. Some of the former owners were: Count G.A. Stroganov, poet V.A. Zhukovsky, Prince S.M.Golitsyn, professor of St. Petersburg University A.V. Nikitenko, Director of Tomsk non-classical secondary school G.K. Tyumentseva and others.
Siberian Botanical Garden
Tomsk University’s Botanical Garden was founded in 1880 with a total area of 1.2 hectares and is the first botanical institution in the Asian part of Russia. The urban area of the Siberian Botanical Garden of Tomsk State University (with the total area of 10 hectares) includes Conservation Park, greenhouse complex and the territory next to it, combined into a single landscape and architectural ensemble. The greenhouse complex (with the total area of 6,500m²) consists of 4 large sections open to the public and 8 isolated sections with 12 major microclimate regimes. In the south-eastern part of Tomsk there is an educational and experimental plot of the Siberian Botanical Garden of Tomsk State University with a total area of over 100 hectares. This is a fine green area with amazing natural landscapes and man-made forest.
Collection artefacts include more than 6,000 species, types and varieties of live plants, including tropical and subtropical plants growing indoors – 1,750 taxa, 126 of which belong to the orchid family Orchidaceae; ornamental woody and shrub plants growing outdoors – 796 species, types and varieties; ornamental herbaceous plants growing outdoors – 1105 species, types and varieties; medicinal plants – 535 species; fruit and berry plants – 338 species, types and varieties; fodder plants – 526 species and varieties; vegetable plants – 426 species and varieties; rare and endangered flora of the Tomsk region – 551 species. There are 137 species of rare plants from the world’s flora, including 43 species listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, which are cultivated in the Siberian Botanical Garden of Tomsk State University.
Permanent art sale & exhibition
Take this unforgettable journey to the world of art. The gallery constantly expands it collection with works by members of the Academy of Arts and other outstanding artists. The gallery will enchant you by its amazing paintings, sculptures, ceramic arts and maybe you will find a masterpiece to decorate your home or office.
The amazing living puppet theater of the Tomsk puppeteer Vladimir Zakharov.
A former design engineer, Vladimir Zakharov build his theater around his invention – a “wrist puppet”.
The theater will fascinate you not only with its performances, but also with its hall inhabited by many wooden robotic dolls. The theater will welcome its guests with low-key environment and positivity.
“History of Astronomy – Space Exploration” in the Tomsk Atomic Power Information Center
Insight into the history of astronomy and astronautics. You will learn about the origins of these sciences, join a journey across the planets of the Solar System and see achievements of space exploration, famous spacecraft and satellites.
In September the Center will host a photography exhibition “65 Years – 65 Photographs”. The exhibition includes 65 rare photos taken within the decades after the 1950s to this day, depicting the life Seversk, its population and the Siberian Chemical Plant.
Tomsk Ethnoforum “FoodFest”
FoodFest will be welcoming visitors during the whole three days of the EthnoForum (September 12—14) on the summer terrace of Slavyansky Bazar restaurant. Maxim Syrnikov will be holding open master classes where he will teach everyone participating the intricacies of the traditional Russian cuisine. All participants will be offered a Tasting Menu.
All master classes start at 16.00 at 10 Lenina square. The master classes are free but the number of seats is limited.
Gala concert “Ethno-mix”
The EthnoForum invites everyone to the Tomsk Drama Theater on September 14, 19.00, to see Rivers – an art mystery play adapted from a short story by Evgeny Grishkovets. The closing event of the EthnoForum, Rivers is a moving story for and about those who left their homeland and who stayed, a story about homeland and about Siberia.
Tomsk Drama Theater (4 Lenina square). Tickets cost 250—600 rubles.
Izumrudny Gorod Trade Center (13B Komsomolsky prospekt), first floor.
During this fashion show visitors will see authentic XIX century peasant clothing and modern interpretations inspired by the traditional Russian dress.
The clothes will be modeled by contestants of the Siberian Bride Show event, and one of the segments of the show will focus on the wedding dresses our ancestors wore. Many items, accessories and hand-made jewelry will be available for sale.
A special event focusing on the Russian tradition practiced by maids who wished their suitors to see them at their best. At the final event, the jury will choose the winner – the most diligent, cheerful and funny bride. She will be awarded a truly priceless prize – a traditional maid’s headdress hand-crafted by the masters of the traditional costume studio Slavutnitsa (St. Petersburg).
Entertainment will provided by unique Russian and international ethnic performance groups.