Tobolsk - the capital of historical contradiction

Tobolsk is named after the River Tobol which is flowing nearby. Meanwhile the river is named after Khan Tobolak, an ancient ruler of this land.
Today Tobolsk (population around 100,000) is sharply divided by the landscape into two sections, upper and lower. The lower part, closer to the Irtysh River, was the most intensively developed in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The lower town was marked by a number of churches.
The merchants as well as the tradesmen and craftsmen lived here.
The 18th century was a particularly rich time for the construction of churches in Tobolsk, many of which were decorated in a "Siberian baroque" style.
Although most of these churches were severely damaged during the Soviet era, a number of them survived, and some are being restored in the lower town as resources permit.
Among these remarkable buildings are the Church of the Archangel Michael, the Church of Saints Zacharias and Elizabeth, and the Church of the Elevation of the Cross.
A number of monuments, well-built commercial buildings and warehouses have survived from the 19th century.
The upper part of the town was reserved primarily for institutions of power, the territorial administration and treasury, as well as the central prison.
On the last Sunday of June, Tobolsk traditionally celebrates its birthday: the city was founded in 1587 to mark the fifth anniversary of the victory of Yermak’s forces over the Tatar army led by Khan Kuchum.
Although Tyumen is now the capital of the Tyumen Region, this region was for much of its history ruled from Tobolsk, whose citadel overlooked the high right bank of the Irtysh River. The Tyumen Region is the only Russian region that stretches from the Arctic Ocean to the country’s southern borders.
The city had been built primarily of wood, and has had to be rebuilt six times because of recurring fires. Today, it boasts the only stone Kremlin in Siberia, one of the largest in the Tyumen Region.
Historians say that the word “Tyumen” is derived from the Tatar word “tumen” which translates as 10,000-strong army.
Tobolsk is one of the most contradictory russian towns, being the native land of legendary Grigory Rasputin on the one hand and the last asylum for his patron, the exiled emperor Nikolai II, on the other hand.

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