Tomsk is located in the heart of Siberia — the Tomsk region. The city got its name in honor of the Tom River, on the banks of which it stands.
Tomsk’s history starts in the 17th century, when Tsar Boris Godunov ordered “to put the city in a strong place” in 1604.
Afterwards, Tomsk became a military fortress. With the development of trade, the city became an important transport hub; routes passed through it, along which goods were delivered from Asia to the European part of the country and back. The names of some modern streets, such as Moskovsky tract and Irkutsky tract, still remind us of that time.
In the 19th century, the “gold rush” gave the city a new impetus; gold merchants built stone buildings, factories, hospitals, schools, and theaters in Tomsk. It was the merchants who financially supported the construction of a university in Tomsk, the first beyond the Urals. It was a turning point in the city's history.
In 1888, the Imperial University was opened in Tomsk, and in 1896, the first technical university in the Asian part of Russia was opened. It was the Tomsk Technological Institute of Emperor Nicholas II (Tomsk Polytechnic University). The city received the unofficial name Siberian Athens and became the main center of education and science for Siberia and the Far East, which is almost 2/3 of the country's territory.
About 560,000 people now live in Tomsk. There are six state universities and more than a dozen research institutes of the Tomsk Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Tomsk National Research Medical Center in the city. The university buildings are located along the central avenue for two kilometers, and campuses are located not far from the center. In fact, Tomsk is a city-university.
The number of students in Tomsk universities exceeds 60,000; that is, every tenth resident of the city is a student. Students from all Russian regions, as well as from other countries, come to study at Tomsk’s universities. For example, TPU is not inferior to Moscow State University in terms of the internationalization level (the share of foreign students).Tomsk is the student capital not only of Siberia but also of Russia. In 2015, the city administration registered the corresponding trademark in the state register. In the ranking of the best student cities in the world, Tomsk is in the top-100 and ranks third among Russian participants after Moscow and St. Petersburg. At the same time, Tomsk ranks sixth in the world in terms of accessibility to education.