Saturday, 28 May 2011

Tomsk, Russia

Another train postcard, this time from Russia. For some reason the picture here reminds me of Savonlinna, a small town in Finland where I used to go to university. I'm so glad I don't have to go there anymore, I really didn't like it there. I'm also wondering whether trains to Savonlinna go to the railway station there anymore. The station was closed when I was still living in the town, but you could still catch a train from there, although the train also stopped by the marketplace. Hhmmm... this isn't really relevant to this postcard so I'll stop rambling. :P

Tomsk is a city and the administrative center of Tomsk Oblast, Russia, located on the Tom River. One of the oldest towns in Siberia, Tomsk celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2004. It has a population of around 522,900 (2010).

In 1804, the government selected Tomsk to become the center for a new governorate which would include the modern cities of Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk and eastern Kazakhstan. The new status brought development and the city grew quickly.

The discovery of gold in 1830 brought further development to Tomsk in the 19th century. However, when the Trans-Siberian Railway bypassed the city in favor of the village of Novonikolayevsk (now Novosibirsk), development began to move south to connect with the railway. In time, Novosibirsk would surpass Tomsk in importance.

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 and Tomsk Polytechnic University. By World War II, every 12th resident of the city was a student, giving rise to the city's informal name - Siberian Athens.

After the Russian Revolution the city was a notable center of the White movement, led by Anatoly Pepelyayev and Maria Bochkareva, among others. After the capture by the Red Army, Tomsk was incorporated into West Siberian Krai and later into Novosibirsk Oblast.

As in many Siberian cities, Tomsk became the new home for many factories relocated out of the War Zone at the beginning of the Second World War. The resulting growth of the city led the Soviet government to establish a new Oblast centered on Tomsk.

The stamps are from a set of 3 stamps issued earlier this year, depicting Russian Regions. The ones here are the Tambov region (left) and Tjumen region (right).

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