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(təbôlsk`), city (1989 pop. 94,000), W Siberian Russia, a port on the Irtysh River near its confluence with the Tobol. Industries revolve around oil and gas from the W Siberian oil field. Founded in 1587 by Cossacks on the site of a Tatar village, Tobolsk was one of Russian Siberia's first towns. It was moved to its present site in 1610. The city was the administrative seat of W Siberia from 1708 until 1824, when Omsk replaced it. The main Siberian highway went through Tobolsk in the 18th cent., but the city declined when the Trans-Siberian RR was built (1890s) far to the south. Emperor Nicholas II and his family were exiled there (1917–18) before being taken to YekaterinburgYekaterinburg
or Ekaterinburg
, formerly Sverdlovsk
, city (1989 pop. 1,365,000), capital of the Sverdlovsk region and the administrative center of the Ural federal district, E European Russia, in the eastern foothills of the central Urals, on the Iset River.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city under oblast jurisdiction and administrative center of Tobol’sk Raion, Tiumen’ Oblast, RSFSR. Port on the Irtysh River, near the confluence of the Irtysh and the Tobol River. Located 14 km from the Tobol’sk railroad station and 254 km northeast of Tiumen’. Site of an airport. Population, 65,600 (1976).

Tobol’sk was founded in 1587 by a cossack detachment. From the late 16th to early 18th centuries it was the main military and political center of Siberia. It became the administrative center of Siberia Province in 1708, of Tobol’sk Vicegerency in 1782, and of Tobol’sk Province in 1796. In the 17th and 18th centuries there were numerous tanneries and smithies, an armory, and several merchants’ arcades. The city had commercial ties with Bukhara and China. Chronicles were written in Tobol’sk. Siberia’s first schools, theater, and printing press were opened there, and the first Siberian journal, Irtysh, prevrashchaiushchiisia v Ipokrenu (Irtysh Transformed Into Ipokrena), was published.

In the 19th century, after the shifting of trade routes and the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which bypassed the city, Tobol’sk lost its significance. Tobol’sk was a place of exile, and between the 1830’s and 1850’s, M. A. Fonvizin, W. K. Küchelbecker, and other Decembrists lived there. Soviet power was established on Apr. 9, 1918. On June 18, 1918, Tobol’sk was seized by White Guards; it was liberated by the Red Army and partisans on Oct. 21,1919.

Industry in Tobol’sk includes a shipyard, shops for servicing equipment of the logging industry, a ship-repairing plant, and a plywood combine. Furniture and rugs are produced, and ivory is carved. A petrochemical complex is under construction (1976) in the area. The city has a pedagogical institute, technicums of the fishing industry and zooveterinary medicine, two pedagogical schools, and naval, medical, music, and cultural schools. Tobol’sk also has a drama theater (founded 1705).

Tobol’sk is situated on a bend of the Irtysh River, on steep slopes and an extensive lowland on the river’s right bank. It retains elements of regular city planning of the 17th century. A master plan featuring a grid-type layout was executed in part; this plan, approved in 1839, was devised by the architect Weigel on the basis of a plan of 1784 by A. Guchev. In the highest section of the city is Siberia’s first stone kremlin. Built in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, the kremlin has buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries, including the St. Sophia-Uspenskii Cathedral (1683–86), merchants’ arcades (1703–05, design by S. U. Reme-zov), and the former Bishop’s House (now a museum; 1773–75). Above the steep road to the kremlin is the Swedish Palace (1713–16), with six vaulted rooms above an arched passage. The lower section of Tobol’sk has baroque churches, as well as residential and administrative buildings in the baroque and classical styles.

Trade in carved ivory has been carried out in Tobol’sk since the second half of the 19th century. In modern times, Tobol’sk has been restored and reconstructed. Residential and public buildings have been built, and architectural monuments have been restored. The city has monuments to V. I. Lenin (1927, sculptor G. D. Alekseev) and Ermak (granite, erected 1839, architect A. P. Briullov). Notable figures born in Tobol’sk include the chemist D. I. Mendeleev, the composer A. A. Aliab’ev, and the artist V. G. Perov.


Kochedamov, V. I. Tobol’sk. (Kak ros i stroilsia gorod). [Tiumen’] 1963.
Kopylov, D., and Iu. Pribyl’skii. Tobol’sk. Sverdlovsk, 1969.

V. V. KIRILLOV (architecture)

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a town in central Russia, at the confluence of the Irtysh and Tobol Rivers: the chief centre for the early Russian colonization of Siberia. Pop.: 100 000 (2000 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Nicholas II abdicated following the February Revolution of 1917 during which he and his family were imprisoned first in the Alexander Palace at Tsarskoye Selo, then later in the Governor's Mansion in Tobolsk, and finally at the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg.