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Tobolsk

 Tobolsk Profile

LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY

Tobolsk city, located in the northern part of the Tyumen region, at the confluence of two full-flowing rivers - the Irtysh and Tobol. Tobolsk is one of the most picturesque and beautiful cities of Siberia, which leaves an indelible impression with its breathtaking scenery and unique architectural monuments. The city’s beauty is given by the unusual terrain, the white stone Kremlin, ancient buildings and temples.

The city has a favorable economic and geographical position: the Tobolsk river port is the most important water transport hub of the Ob-Irtysh basin, capable of accepting and processing almost any national economic cargo. The railway connects Tobolsk with the northern and central regions of Russia.

The distance from the nearest city Tyumen is 198 km, from Moscow 2,319 km, from Irkutsk 3,095 km.

AREA:  222 km2
 POPULATION & NATIONALITIES: 99,000 people as for 2020. The following nationalities live in the city: Russians 75,6%, Tatars 16%, Ukrainians 2,5%, Belorussians 0,6%, Germans 0,6%.
CLIMATE

The continental climate prevails in Tobolsk. Winters are cold and long. Summer is short and cool. The warmest month of July is an average temperature of +18 degrees Celsius. The coldest January is an average temperature of -17 degrees Celsius.

HISTORY

Tobolsk was founded in 1587 in the place where, five years earlier, a decisive battle took place between the army of Yermak and the Tatar army led by Khan Kuchum. It happened near the Chuvash cape on the Tobol river. In 1590, the settlement was transformed into a city. By the beginning of the 17th century, it had become the main city of Siberia, in which the Siberian archbishopric was established. Since 1708, Tobolsk was the administrative center of the Siberian province, which included the Urals, Siberia and the Far East.

 For centuries, Christians, Muslims, Catholics, Jews peacefully coexisted in Tobolsk, which contributed to the prosperity of the city and left an invaluable historical heritage and glorious spiritual traditions for posterity. The city kept its own annals, the printing house also worked and in 1789 the first Siberian book was printed. The first church theater in Siberia was founded in 1705, and in the 80s a secular professional theater. Here, in the XVIII century, the first theological seminary, the digital (garrison) school, the main public school were opened.
 
In different years, outstanding personalities lived and worked in Tobolsk - “Siberian Lomonosov” S. U. Remezov, philosopher Yu. Krizhanich, “Siberian Apostle” Metropolitan Filofei Leshchinsky, artist V. G. Perov, poet and storyteller P. P. Ershov, scientist D. I. Mendeleev. Expeditions of the pioneers Semyon Dezhnev, Erofei Khabarov, Fedot Alekseev, Vitus Bering went to the shores of the Arctic and Pacific oceans, expanding the borders of great Russia. The paths of exile and opals passed through the capital city of Siberia to Protopop Avvakum, Menshikov, Osterman, Dolgoruky, Minikh, Radishchev, Dostoevsky, Chernyshevsky.
 

On August 6, 1917, Tobolsk met with a bell ringing a steamboat, on which the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and his family, abdicated, arrived in exile. The exiled royal persons settled in the governor's house, located near the marina. In April 1918, by order of the Council of People's Commissars and the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, the Romanovs were transported to Yekaterinburg. And Tobolsk went down in history as "a city that did not kill the king."

 
 
TOUR SIGHTS OF INTEREST
 Tobolsk is a unique city-monument of stone and wooden architecture of Siberia. In total, the city has more than 200 historical and cultural monuments. Among them 16 cathedral, monastery and parish churches. The most significant architectural complex is the only stone Kremlin in Siberia Tobolsk Kremlin. Devastating fires often occurred in a wooden city, so at the end of the XVII century, the project of stone Tobolsk appeared in the capital of Siberia. The Stone Kremlin was built for almost 20 years - during this time the Ascension Church, the Order Chamber, Renterey, which contained the provincial treasury, Gostiny Dvor and fortress walls with nine towers, were erected here. In the XIX century, Tobolsk became a place of exile and a transshipment point for convicts. A prison castle for 1,500 prisoners was built in the Kremlin. In 1961, the State Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve was created here, which included all the buildings of the Tobolsk Kremlin. They were restored for a long time: the destroyed walls and towers, the facade of the Gostiny Dvor and the decoration of temples were restored.

Viceroy's Palace - the central museum complex of the Tobolsk Kremlin. Since January 2009, the main exposition dedicated to the history of Siberia’s governance from the 17th century to 1917 has been exhibited here. The first floor of the memorial building is dedicated to the era of the voivodship, the second - reflects the period of provincial rule, the third housed "public places" - representative and exhibition halls at the same time. Today, the governor’s palace presents unique items from the collections of the Tobolsk Museum-Reserve, recreated fragments of interiors from different eras.

One of the famous attractions of the Tobolsk Kremlin was St. Sophia Cathedral - the oldest stone building in the city. In the Soviet years, Tobolsk prisoners were kept here, and later - in 1939 - the building was recognized as an architectural monument. The Tobolsk diocese - the oldest in Siberia, was founded in 1620. For centuries, Siberian bishops, metropolitans carried out missionary, enlightening, educational activities among the local population. The residence of the higher clergy of Siberia - the "Bishop's House", was built in 1775. Located on the Sofia side of the Tobolsk Kremlin, for more than two centuries the building has been a spiritual center.

The Rentery Museum in the Tobolsk Kremlin stores ancient tools and utensils, religious objects and decorative bronze castings. Also in the collection there are ethnographic exhibits and the collection "Nature", which tells about the flora and fauna of Western Siberia. The architectural complex of the Prison Castle includes five buildings. Here you can visit the hospital building and the cells of the Tsarist prison, in the office of the NKVD investigator and the wall of mass executions in the 1930s. Among the exhibits of the museum are old shackles, a Soviet security tower and photographs that tell about the daily life of prisoners. The Museum of Siberian Entrepreneurship operates in Gostiny Dvor, where you can find out the history of the Siberian trade route and interesting facts about local merchants. Here are stored dishes of the 17th – 19th centuries, furs, ancient Siberian coins and nettles. The Tobolsk Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve includes not only the Kremlin buildings. The scientific library of the Tobolsk Museum-Reserve has a unique fund, which includes over 54 thousand publications, 35 thousand of which are classified as rare and unique.  The Provincial Museum - the first museum in Siberia - was founded in 1870. There were five departments of collections: natural history, ethnographic, archaeological, industrial and general education. Later, a scientific library appeared at his place, a meteorological station. Some exhibits were sent to the Provincial Museum by Tsarevich Nikolai Aleksandrovich - he visited museum when he traveled to Siberia and the Far East.

The royal family lived in Tobolsk from August 1917 to April 1918. They were settled in the lower city - in the Governor's house. The Romanovs occupied the entire second floor, on the first housemaid. Today in the Governor's house is an exposition dedicated to the exile of the royal family in Tobolsk. In memory of this period of the life of the imperial family, a memorial cabinet was created - the Museum of Nicholas II. According to the surviving photographs and diaries, the atmosphere of the last study of Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov was recreated in it. Photos of the family during their stay in Tobolsk are also presented here.

Have a virtual tour in the Governor’s House by this link

Of the fourteen Decembrists deported to Tobolsk, seven remained here forever and rest in the city Zavalny cemetery. The monument to the wives of the Decembrists is located in the square next to the cemetery, where exiled oppositionists are buried. A round colonnade and a bronze female figure were established in 2008, on the day of the celebration of the 420th anniversary of the city. The monument symbolizes the civic feat and courage of a Russian woman.

John Vvedensky Convent - a religious institution founded in 1864. In Soviet times, a boarding school was located in the monastery building, and then a military unit. In 1998, the monastery was transferred to the Orthodox Church.

Yermak Garden is located on Cape Chukman - a high hill with a picturesque view of the Kremlin. Historians claim that it was in this place that the decisive battle of the chieftain with the Khan Kuchum took place, after which the Tatar army was expelled from Siberian lands. In 1839, a 16-meter monument to the “Conqueror of Siberia Ermak” was erected here, and in 1855 a park was laid out nearby.

The Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity was built in 1900-1909 with donations from parishioners - descendants of exiled Poles sent to Siberia after the uprisings of 1830 and 1863. In Soviet times, a dining room was located in a neo-Gothic building, then a cinema. In 1993, the temple was again transferred to the Catholic parish. Masses and organ concerts are held here now.

The Church of Zachary and Elizabeth is a monument of Siberian Baroque and one of the most beautiful temples of Tobolsk. A stone two-story church was built in 1758-1776 on the site of a burnt wooden one. While studying at the gymnasium, the parishioner of the church was the future author of The Little Humpbacked Horse Peter Yershov, and in 1917–1918 it was visited by the family of Nicholas II, who was in exile.

The Znamensky Abalaksky Monastery is located on the high bank of the famous Siberian Irtysh River, at a distance of 30 kilometers from Tobolsk. The monastery is a unique historical and architectural complex, which was formed in the Baroque style by the middle of the 18th century. Time did not spare a single building of the monastery. Only some of the largest stone buildings have survived from the complex. The stone chambers built in 1684 were famous for their beautiful architecture, but nothing remained of them. Now the Abalak monastery is functioning again, monastic life has been resumed in it.

One of the squares in the central part of Tobolsk is a park dedicated to the famous Russian classic - Fedor Dostoevsky. The main decoration of the square is a monument made of bronze shows Fyodor Dostoyevsky sitting on a bench, next to the writer on the bench are prison shackles and the Gospel. The writer sits on a rough wooden deck, he has a tired look, and his hands are rude from hard work. Also on the territory of the square is a temple in honor of the Apostles Peter and Paul. It has a long history, dating back to XVIII century. The architectural style of the Peter and Paul Church is very interesting - this is the first and only church in Tobolsk with pronounced features of classicism.

19 kilometers from modern Tobolsk along the ancient Irkutsk highway there is a place attractive for its history, mystical power and sad fate. This place is the former capital of the Siberian Khanate - Iskera-Kashlyka. Nowadays from the once powerful capital there is a small island in the middle of the Irtysh with a length of 300 and a width of about 15 meters. This place is a monument of regional importance and the most important archaeological finds are coins, medals, orders and insignia, silver, jewelry and weapons (dated from 1881-1897).

The only Russian factory of art bone carving products, the work of craftsmen, which is the most desired souvenir for tourists, operates in Tobolsk. The appearance of the bone carving industry here is due to the abundance of mammoth tusk, which was found along the banks of the northern rivers. The first bone-carving workshops appeared in Tobolsk at the beginning of the 18th century: in 1721, Swedish officers who were captured during the Northern War were exiled here. By the end of the 1860s, a group of local bone carvers worked in the city. Products were delivered to St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Kiev, Nizhny Novgorod. Nowadays the works of Tobolsk masters are stored in the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, are successfully exhibited at international expositions.

The tourist complex "Abalak" is located in the village of the same name near Tobolsk, on the banks of the Irtysh River. Tourist complex is a wooden burg of cedar. Here you can plunge into the life of the ancient city, in the life of its inhabitants, try dishes of Russian cuisine, take a steam bath in a Russian bathhouse or ride a horse. There is a rental of boats, smokehouses, barbecues, sports equipment from ATVs to badminton; excursions to the mowing grounds. For those who wish, fishing, conduct workshops on blacksmithing and pottery, woodcarving, and milking a cow are organized. In winter, an ice rink and a ski run are equipped here.

On the way from Tyumen to the city of Tobolsk - it is worth wrapping in the village of Pokrovskoye. Here, in the homeland of Grigory Rasputin, is a house museum dedicated to this legendary man. It is a private museum created by the efforts of a married couple - Vladimir and Marina Smirnov. The museum they created was one of the first in the country. Over the past decades, they have collected a lot of information about Rasputin, found related exhibits: a dressing table with a cracked mirror, an old forged chest, a spoon and a dish with a personal monogram of Alexandra Fedorovna Romanova, an icon in front of which Gregory prayed. All items associated with Rasputin are credited with mystical properties. There is a stand in the museum with photographs of famous visitors: celebrities and journalists from around the world.

EVENTS
 

The International Festival of Historical Reconstruction "Abalak Field" is conceived as an annual festival on the history of the early Middle Ages. One of the most striking pages of this festival are pair fights and, of course, collective combat clashes, which simultaneously involve more than 50 reenactors armed with historical weapons. Along with armed clashes, in the framework of the festival, a special block is allocated to everyday history, crafts, cuisine, urban planning component. Spectators are presented with a reconstructed military camp, where everyday objects, clothes, things, weapons, armor and jewelry are recreated. To do this, participants use scientific data in compliance with historical technologies and the use of materials similar to the materials of the reconstructed era. Tourists can test themselves in the military business, as an archer, try on combat armor, observe the work of artisans - weavers, potters, bone and wood carvers, masters of weaving on planks and bird reeds, taste the long-forgotten dishes of Russians at a honey feast, dance to music folk ensembles. The festival takes place in Abalak village, 30 km from Tobolsk city, every year in July.

 “Summer in the Tobolsk Kremlin” is a music festival that gives viewers a unique opportunity to spend time outdoors in the picturesque city of Tobolsk, enjoying the beautiful voices of opera singers and bewitching music performed by the orchestra. The leading soloists of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers are performing for the audience. The festival is held in summer in Tobolsk city.
 

International Festival of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Siberian Tatars "Isker Zhyen". The festival program includes a review competition of creative teams in the following nominations: folk compositions (folklore), works of classical composers, contemporary authors. During the festival, guests are invited to take part in a collective prayer in honor of their ancestors, in various national competitions (horse racing, Koresh wrestling), taste national dishes, visit museum corners expositions, get acquainted with the work of folk craftsmen, see theatrical an idea of ​​the Siberian Khanate, to visit the Isker-Kala yurt, to visit "at the very Khan Kuchum and his subjects". The festival is held in ancient settlement Isker, 19 km from Tobolsk city.

 "Royal days in Tobolsk" are held in the city of Tobolsk on August. The event is dedicated to the stay in the Tobolsk exile of the family of the last Russian emperor. The program of the event: a procession, a prayer service for the Holy Royal Martyrs at the Governor's house, a theatrical performance at the Governor's house, a projection demonstration of shots from the Romanov family photo album, an excursion program. For the photo exhibition selected 500 of the brightest and most meaningful images. Here you can find photographs taken by the hands of Empress Maria Feodorovna, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, the great princesses and close associates of the royal family.
 

The Cossack Culture Festival “Yermak’s Heirs” is a tribute to those who have traveled from the Stone Belt to the Pacific Ocean, helped to equip and live in Siberia, as well as those who have embarked on the path of revival of the Cossacks today. The objectives of the festival are the preservation and development of national Cossack traditions, the promotion and popularization of traditional Cossack culture. At the end, a gala concert is held in the form of a folk festival, accompanied by an exhibition of traditional crafts, a demonstration of the possession of weapons - flanking, demonstrations by horsemen, tasting of dishes of traditional Cossack cuisine, and folk ritual games. Estimated dates of the festivalare in autumn.

 

 

It’s hard to truly understand Siberia without a visit to the city of Tobolsk. Founded in 1587, Tobolsk was one of Russia’s first Asian outposts and later became the capital of Siberia. The city’s stone kremlin, or walled citadel, is the only one of its kind in Siberia and rests on a bluff overlooking the windswept prairie of the Central Asian steppes. Continue here

 

 

Read a short story about Tobolsk city from the local resident here

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