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In 1604 the Tatar prince and his embassy visited Russian tsar Boris Godunov and asked him to grant them protection of Moscow and to build a Russian fortress on the Tom River to protect Tatars from their aggressive neighbors, the Kyrgyz and Kalmyk tribes. On March 25, 1604 the Tsar sent his two military leaders with a task they should have established a fortress on the banks of Tatar river Tom, cleared territories for fields and brought Russian allegiance to local population.

Tomsk fortress was founded on the southern cape of the Voskresenskaya mountain, rising above right bank of the river Tom, 60 km away the river Ob. Engineering works lasted till October 7, 1604 and this day became official birthday of the Tomsk city. Tomsk grew into an important strategic town, which protected its population from attacks of nomads in 1614, 1617, 1657 and 1698.

In 17th century borders of the Russian state moved southwards and eastwards significantly, warlike nomads were pacified and Tomsk lost its defensive status. In the middle of 18th century Tomsk became the place for exile, and many people, who somehow offended the state.

After Siberian tract was built, Tomsk became an important centre of Russian transit trade and in 1804 grew to the status of the centre of large Tomskaya province, which included territories of modern Altai territory, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk regions, Western Kazakhstan. Since 1830s Tomsk population grew rapidly due to gold mining in Siberia.

When Russian officials decided where to build Trans-Siberian railway, for building a bridge across the Ob river they chose a place, located southwards from Tomsk. All this resulted in formation of a settlement near the bridge, which later developed into a city, called Novosibirsk. Tomsk found itself away from the railway and lost its status of a traffic centre.

Soviet regime came to Tomsk in December 1917. In 1937 the city of Tomsk entered the Novosibirsk region. During the Great Patriotic War (the World War II for the rest of the world) Tomsk welcomed about 30 evacuated enterprises from European part of Russia, which became the basis of the citys industry. Citys population grew significantly, followed by changes in administrative status Tomsk acquired its region in 1944.

In 1970 Tomsk acquires the status of a historical city. In 1990s industry in Tomsk showed recession due to total instability of Russias economy, and situation improved only in 1998. In 2004 Tomsk celebrated its 400th anniversary. In 2005 Russian government announced about creating a special economic zone of technical and innovation type in Tomsk, which meant that the city would gain investments in its economy, as well as innovative establishments were expected to be open.

Tomsk has many local cultural institutions including drama theatres, a children's theatre and a puppet theatre. One can find music at the city concert hall, home of the local orchestra, or the Sports Palace where pop and rock stars perform. The city also has centres of German, Polish and Tatar culture, where residents can study languages or learn about other countries.




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