è  DEUTSCH   è  ENGLISH   è 

Tobolsk was once a powerful stronghold of the Russian empire in Siberia, though it lost its economic importance even prior to being bypassed by the Trans-Siberian railway.

Tobolsks Kremlin is the only stone Kremlin in Siberia. The reason for this is the fact that the town was once the capital of Siberia a status that entitled it to the fortress.

Tobolsk is perched atop a giant rock and the view from the Tobolsk Kremlin stretches as far as the eye can see. But its picture-postcard churches hide the story of a town built by explorers, political exiles and crafty fur traders.

In the 1580s the Russians had only just conquered Siberia, taking it from the Muslim Tatars. Surrounded by enemies, Tobolsk was to be their stronghold, built on top of an older town. Soon it became an economic hub since Siberian fur was the oil of its time bringing in one-third of all Russias state revenues.

However, Tobolsks remote location had other uses for the Russian Tsar. Tobolsk was one of the most-popular places to send political dissidents, not only people were exiled, but once a giant bell that was used to incite riots was forced to serve a 300 year term.

The Russian aristocrats who led a revolt against the tsar in 1825 known as the Decembrists were sent there.

The town also served up some bitter irony for the Russian Royal Family after the Bolshevik revolution. Nicholas IIs entire family was exiled there, when they spent less than a year in Tobolsk. They would never escape and were mercilessly murdered in Ekaterinburg.

In Soviet times, with the towns grand history forgotten, Tobolsk became just another provincial town.

Now it hopes to reinvent itself as a winter wonderland and an arts and crafts capital.

A quiet provincial town, it is now a much-desired hub for tourists seeking to break from their busy city lives.

We invite you to re-discover Tobolsk- a hidden treasure on the Transsiberian.

Picture: the Sophie-Church, the oldest stone church in Siberia