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. It’s a university city where around one in every five residents is a student – hence the youthful, intellectual atmosphere.

Magnificent in snow, but pleasant at any time of the year, Tomsk also boasts endless examples of fine wooden buildings and 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.