Founded in 1604 in a decree of Tsar Boris Godunov, Tomsk is one of the oldest cities in Siberia. It began its life as a fortress on the River Tom to protect Russia’s conquest of Siberia. The city is also home to Siberia’s oldest university and is today a major educational centre in the region and a real student city. Despite being located off the Trans-Siberian Railway, it remains a popular tourist destination thanks to the large number of historical buildings that have been preserved in the city. However this view was not shared by Anton Chekhov when he stopped in Tomsk and locals have repaid Chekhov’s unkind words about their city with an equally unflattering statue of the great Russian writer.