25 мая 2019  |  
1:41 PM  March 8, 2019

"I’m Tomsk, nice to meet you": how to "assign" the city in seven hours

© предоставлено Александром АвдеевымI’m Tomsk, nice to meet you: how to assign the city in seven hours

TOMSK, Mar 8 – RIA Tomsk. Seven-hour walks across Tomsk, which are carried out by the guide Elena Erofeeva, became her bestseller last summer. She is - Belarusian by birth - was enchanted by Tomsk not at the first glance. What for we can love a city without palaces, why Muscovites take a camera at minus 43 Celsius and where are the three main Tomsk epochs - in our material.

To understand and to assign

Elena Erofeeva moved to Tomsk in 2013 - she married a scientist, associate professor of Tomsk State University, whom she met while studying at a Moscow postgraduate program. She was a tour guide since studentship - she worked in Minsk, accompanied both the delegation of the tourist structure of the Presidential Executive Office, and the sightseeing bus tours across the cities of Russia, Ukraine, Poland.

But at the time of the move, Tomsk was not considered as an excursion city. Categorical "There is no tourism in Tomsk, you can’t earn money by doing excursions here" she had to hear quite often, and, in general, at first she agreed with this opinion:

"Visually, at the first meeting, Tomsk really did not make any special impression on me, primarily because of the annoying different format of buildings. I was also unpleasantly surprised by the huge number of abandoned buildings. Unfortunately, I did not see Tomsk in the state of the "abandoned magnificence" of the 1980s - the beginning of the 1990s, before the loss of wooden complex development", - remembers Elena.

But she was very impressed by the people: "I saw at once that the people here with the capital, I would even say, with the European thinking". Having decided to move, Erofeeva began to explore the city - visited excursions, read a lot, met with local historians.

"I am convinced - in order to feel comfortable in the city, it is important to understand it. To study the resources and the logic of its development. This is the way of appropriating the city - through knowing its history. It took me about three years. Today I tell everyone: Tomsk - is the most interesting and the most multi-layered city in my 12-year guiding practice", - she says.

© предоставлено Музеем истории Томска
"Tomsk - is a special mix of ceremonial provincial and university buildings with commercial buildings, church steeples and unique wooden housing stock. Siberian aesthetics of functionalism, rationality, minimalism, and at the same time such a historically interesting way", - considers Elena.

"Look to your left, look to your right..."

As the Tomsk guide, Elena Erofeeva began with the "classics of the genre" - bus tours from travel companies. The Aleksiyevskiy Monastery of the Mother of God, wooden houses, universities, Lagerny Garden, Resurrection Mountain and Resurrection Church - are a standard two-hour set of impressions, limited by the sight from the bus window and short exits to the sights ...

“Tomsk - is not a bus at all, unlike, for example, from Minsk, where I spent a long time for bus excursions, or Moscow, where I lived during postgraduate study. Here are small streets, houses are pressed to the red line, low-rise buildings, perception of a picture from a bus is completely different ... Literally after the first bus trips I conducted, I knew that I would show the city differently", - remembers Elena.

She came up with a personal excursion project, calling it "Hidden in Siberia", and a little more than a year ago began telling the world about Tomsk and Tomsk citizens on Instagram.

© предоставлено Еленой Ерофеевой
During the year work, Elena became the heroine of the project "Pride of Russia", participated in the filming of a travel show about Tomsk, held a night tour for the famous video blogger, won the regional stage of the All-Russian professional skills competition in the "Best Tour Guide" nomination.
Her bestseller unexpectedly (even for herself - it was believed that long excursions tormented people) was a long walk "I am your city. Let's get to know each other!". It lasts six to seven hours, starting at the House of Science named after Peter Makushin. This place, according to the guide, best of all illustrates the multi-layered history of Tomsk:

"400 years ago, being here, we would see the walls of the upper tenement fortress, this is our military-strategic and diplomatic history of the 17th century. Then - Pushkin Street passes by, passing into the Irkutsk tract, this is our long period of existence as one of the most important cities in Moscow-Siberian path".

“And with all this, we are standing near the building of 1912, which is an illustration of the modern approach to architecture: modern for a provincial city - is a very fresh solution for that time! Plus, this is the beginning of Tomsk’s history as an educational center”, - continues Erofeeva.

© предоставлено Еленой Ерофеевой
On Mamontov Street - a favorite view of tour guide on the city: historical districts at a glance!
Sightseeing tour ends in the area of ​​universities. For one walk, during which people had time to drink tea on the wooden balcony on Shishkov Street, relax in public gardens, have lunch and chat, they walked on foot for four centuries. They get an opportunity to understand the city from a spatial and historical perspective, to figure out where some historical areas are, what their peculiarities are, what direction the city grew in, how it was built up in stages, who changed it and how ...

"This is an excursion base, which can then be supplemented with narrow topics, independent reading of local history articles. My task - is to arouse interest to the city, help to see it with enthusiastic eyes of a tourist. This is necessary not only for tourists, but also for residents: there are a lot of visitors in Tomsk, it is important to establish a connection with the city of your everyday life", - says Elena.

предоставлено Еленой Девяшиной
Elena Erofeeva conducts an excursion tour in Tomsk.

Climatic tourism

Erofeeva calls Tomsk an obvious tourist leader in the regional plan: from Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk, Kuzbass and Altai cities people come here for a weekend, to change the scenery. But there are more and more Muscovites, Petersburgers, foreigners.

The interest to the Siberian cities - is one of the latest tourist trends, which is noted by the guide:

"On New Year's holidays, for example, two Muscovites stayed - a mother and a teenage daughter. Mother showed her daughters "different Russia". Tomsk was chosen partly by chance - they saw my suggestions on Instagram. And after reading the reviews on the "Otzovik" website, where the city is praised literally by everyone, they packed their bags. And there are more and more such tourists. Muscovites flew in and went on excursions even at minus 43 Celsius. It's climate tourism!" - smiles Elena.

© предоставлено Еленой Девяшиной
"The social networks of citizens are a tremendous resource for advertising the city! We all appreciate personal experience and listen to sincere recommendations. Many of my tourists didn’t intend to go to Tomsk before acquaintance with the blog. Sotell about Tomsk, post a photo!" – calls Elena.
Random guests who come to Tomsk, as a rule, do not expect anything special from the city. They understand: Siberia is not Disneyland, there are few visual wow impressions.

"Tomsk - is not a holiday city like Kazan, Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, which have capital character and parade in culture, there are no palaces here - people looked at space as a resource for survival. At the same time, being in Tomsk on business, many are pleasantly surprised and they regret that allocated only one day for the city. Tomsk is for unhurried contemplation and for so-called intellectual tourism", - says Elena.

© РИА Томск. Таисия Воронцова
"Tomsk lacks creative objects which would contrast with the patriarchal city. We would have unusual shops, trendy small architectural forms that would visually catch the eye. A small example - is when in the University Grove was set Hypercube TSU, it passed through all social networks!"
Her guests always note that in Tomsk there is the most well-groomed wooden architecture. It is here that people begin to believe that all this beauty - is not a fading, but a preserved heritage ...

"In terms of tourism development there is one wish - is to bring into dignified condition demanded public spaces and streets. So that guides do not have to justify why Bakunin smells bad and the embankment in the Governor’s quarter is in a semi-ruined state. And in every way to preserve and maintain historic wooden buildings. Without it Tomsk will cease to be Tomsk", - adds Elena.

© РИА Томск. Павел Стефанский
There are places where almost all the guests immediately take out the camera. Top 3 are - house on the Belinsky Street, 19, The house with firebirds and the interiors of the main building of Tomsk Polytechnic University. On the fourth place - the Church of the Resurrection.

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