13 Things To Do In Tomsk – Siberian Athens, My Birth Town And The Fairest Of Them All!


Far far away in cold snowy Siberia, hidden away from the curious eye amidst vast taiga forests, there is a small beautiful town called Tomsk. With lengthy severe winters and hit-and-run summers, surrounded by endless kilometers of taiga terra and swamps, Tomsk scares away the weak-hearted. So the townsmen, or Tomichi, if you prefer the authentic name, are all strong and brave, hard-tempered but sweet and good-natured people. That’s how I would start a fantasy fairy-tale story about a little brave girl Katya and her Siberian adventures. J

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide


Sadly, this is a blog post, not a fantasy saga, and I have to push myself back down to earth, even though in the imaginary world of the little brave girl Katya, the world I mostly live in, Tomsk will always be the fairest place of them all!

This winter I finally made it home. For the first time since I left for the States 10 years ago. I won’t bore you with my personal life story, but would like to spare a quick warning – immigration is no joke and some things (it all depends, of course) might take years. My mom and sister visited me in US repeatedly, but I didn’t see my father for 10 years. As well as my hometown, friends and relatives.

You might be eager to know how it feels stepping off the plane into the city where one was born, spent childhood and youth and then happened to be absent for a decade. Imagine the moment you are about to skydive, looking at the tiny land below you, the stomach jumping to your throat and your breath skipping. Then remember the happiest instance of your life - your heart palpitating, warm waves running over your body. Coalesce these sensations into a stream of simultaneous feelings, garnish with disarray, bizarre numbness and some Matrix effect of the world slowing down. That’s how it feels.

A month and a half flew by. I did a lot, but mostly tried to catch up. It’s not an easy task stuffing 10-years worth of catching up into a month and half. I spent time with my dad, visited friends, visited places. Places like my school, university campuses and buildings, the neighborhood where my family lived when I was a kid, nearby woods where I used to play, the cemetery. I played my old detuned piano, browsed through hundreds of old black and white photographs, enjoyed being in my room which stayed almost the same as it had been a decade ago. I was obliviously happy even though at times it felt like a bizarre mirror world where everything stayed in the past and all clocks stopped. The figment of my desperate imagination.

I took lots of pictures, of course. I do that a lot – take pictures excessively to such an extent I reproach myself for wasting precious time on amateur pointless photography. Yet, I managed to compile a pretty decent photo essay of decorated for the New Years winter Tomsk – eye-blinding white, sparkly and festive.

People feel differently about their birthplaces. I love my birth town. I romanticize and glorify it. It just doesn’t make sense for me to criticize the place where I spent my childhood, grew wiser and taller, where my grandma spent her laborious life, where my parents live. It’s called home and it is full of memories. It will always stay the best for me no matter whether it shines or pales.

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk travel guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Siberian travel

Siberian travel

Tomsk Siberia Travel Guide

Things you should do in Tomsk in winter:


1. Wooden architecture walk. Tomsk is one of the oldest towns in Siberia (celebrated 400th anniversary) and is famous for an exceptional heritage of art – unique wooden architecture with intricate lace “gingerbread” decorations. Find them at Krasnoarmeyskaya street, Kuznetzova street, Oktyabrskaya street, just to name a few. 

Tomsk wooden houses

Tomsk wooden houses

2. Look at the city panorama from the viewpoint at the Historical Museum.

Siberia Travel

Siberia Travel

3. Eat draniki, drink kisel, crack some pine nuts straight from the pinecones. In other words, do as locals do. 

Siberian pinecones

4. Go skating and cross country skiing.

Tomsk Siberia

5. Visit Tomsk Universities (there are plenty of them – Tomsk is called Siberian Athens for a reason).

Tomsk State University

6. Visit Russian Banya – sweat until you feel weak, hit each other with a venik (birch leaf), drink vodka and jump into a snowdrift.

Siberian travel

7. Witness the Baptism of Jesus commemoration on January 19th and dipping into the ice-holes. (or join the brave and dive yourself!)

Siberia traveling

8. Enjoy festive ice sculptures, ice castles, decorated Christmas trees and ice runs.

Tomsk Siberia travel guide

Tomsk Siberia travel guide

Tomsk Siberia travel guide

Tomsk Siberia travel guide

Tomsk Siberia travel guide

Tomsk Siberia travel guide

9. Feed the ducks, ride an old tram, wander aimlessly, admire snow sparkles.

Things to do in Tomsk Siberia

Things to do in Tomsk Siberia

Things to do in Tomsk Siberia

10. Eat bliny, drink Tomsk beer, explore Tomsk bar scene and nightlife.

Tomsk travel

11. Visit theaters, museums, art galleries and concert halls. Tomsk has a lot to offer! Speaking some Russian would help though J

Tomsk Doll Theater

Tomsk Doll Theater

11. Tomsk has quite a few beautiful Russian Orthodox churches worthy of a visit.

Tomsk Siberia Travel

12. Have fun in Okolitza Park (the village fence) with dozens of wood carved sculptures, traditional events and artisan showrooms.

Tomsk Siberia Travel

Tomsk Siberia Travel

Tomsk Siberia Travel

Tomsk Siberia Travel

13. Buy presents: matreshkas, chocolates (Tomskaya ptichka), precious stones jewelry, birch bark souvenirs, pine nuts and all kinds of things made with pine nuts, fir-tree jams, cedar essential oils, Siberian herb teas, honey, spa hats… The options are endless! There are just so much of either funky, or beautiful, or cheap, or healthy, or unique, or delicious stuff out there. 

Tomsk Siberian Souvenirs

Tomsk Siberian Souvenirs

Tomsk Siberian Souvenirs


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my beautiful Siberian hometown Tomsk!

Tomsk Siberian city

Tomsk Siberian city

Suitcases and Sandcastles











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    CONVERSATION

    13 comments:

    1. love the story and the pictures

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    2. приезжай теперь летом
      совсем другие фото будут ;)

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    3. brought tears to my eyes :')

      ReplyDelete
    4. Whoa, the system didn't regonize me...

      ReplyDelete
    5. Damn it... recognize. Sorry for spamming. :-/ the first one anonymous was from me. okay, now i ruined it all.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Lol, Dasha, you didn't ruin it, you made me smile and That i s priceless :-)

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    6. I loved all that! I'll move to Tomsk in August, and I want to visit and do everything you said. You should put some adresses to help us find thoses places

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Oh wow, you are moving to Tomsk from where? My bad with the addresses...it didn't occur to me somehow. I don't live there now, as I moved to Miami long time ago, so addresses are not at the tip of my tongue any more:) But I gathered the ideas of activities and google nowadays knows everything even about such remote places as Tomsk :) You can email or contact me via Facebook/IG any time if you happen to need any advise!

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    7. Oh wow, you are moving to Tomsk from where? My bad with the addresses...it didn't occur to me somehow. I don't live there now, as I moved to Miami long time ago, so addresses are not at the tip of my tongue any more:) But I gathered the ideas of activities and google nowadays knows everything even about such remote places as Tomsk :) You can email or contact me via Facebook/IG any time if you happen to need any advise!

      ReplyDelete
    8. Wooww nice city..... My bf from tomsk but i've never been there bcoz we have meet in my country,i wish one day ill visit tomsk hehe,sounds fun i wnt to touch tht ice since my country dont have winter and snow lol

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      Replies
      1. If you are not accustomed to winter - prepare to get coooold:)) Cause it might get really freezing in winter there, like minus 40 C, which is omg so cold! But this low temperatures don't last too long, so you'll be fine. with lots of really warm clothes of course :D

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