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Magnificent in snow, but fun to be in at any time of the year, the university city of Tomsk boasts numerous examples of fine wooden buildings and has an animated cafe and art scene. The city has enjoyed the reputation as the ‘cultural capital of Siberia’ since the 1960s, when artists, writers and theatre and film directors were invited to take up residence here.

One of Siberia’s oldest cities, Tomsk was founded in 1604 and was a major trade outpost before the founding of Novosibirsk (then Novo-Nikolaevsk) and the subsequent relocation of the Trans-Siberian Railway line. With a huge and grand university, this is above all a city of learning, and today around one in every five residents is a student – hence the youthful, intellectual atmosphere.

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