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Glimpses of history

The history of Tyumen dates back to the 16th century. The town was set up on the ancient trade route that connected Western Europe with the countries of the East. It is the oldest Russian city in Siberia, located on the site of a Tatar town, Chingi-Tura, founded in the 14th century. The place on the high bank of the Tura River where the Tyumenka flows into it was chosen by voivodes Vasily Sukin and Ivan Myasnoy. It was a good idea to locate a fortified town where the landscape itself with rivers and deep ravines helped to protect Russian and Tatar settlers against nomad invasions. The location of the town was chosen carefully – on the steep, right-hand bank of the Tura River. The eastern side of the town had to be fortified with a moat and a rampart. The construction of the town began in 1586. The 29th of July is known as the Day of the City and celebrated every year. A group of the three hundred Cossacks erected a wooden fortress on a high promontory between the Tyumenka and the Tura Rivers. It was enclosed with a high wooden wall and it had six sentry-towers and two gates.

So, Tyumen became a town which began to grow step by step. All the buildings were made of wood. They burnt down very often, because they were built very close to each other. After a big fire in 1695 it was decided to build with stone. With the increase of the population a settlement appeared outside the eastern wall. Merchants and craftsmen lived there. There was a third part of the town across the Tyumenka River. It was a coachmen’s settlement. The population of Tyumen has long been known for their industriousness and skills. Craftsmen produced leather, fur, pottery goods, carpets, different tools, candles, soap, etc. By the end of the first quarter of the 17th century there were about 300 houses, five churches, two monasteries, 37 shops and a prison in this town. The population reached 500 people. As the time went on, Tyumen became an essential point on the trade route to Central Asia, Persia and China, the centre of leather manufacturing, craftsmanship and agriculture.

Due to its advantageous geographical location Tyumen developed rather quickly. The majority of the townsfolk used to live in wooden one or two-storey houses. They decorated their houses with wooden carved window shutters and tin lace on chimney caps. For centuries the town served as a place of exile. But thanks to the exiled revolutionaries and some local progressive-minded merchants the cultural life of the town sprang up. The charitable activities of the town’s wealthy merchants can hardly be overestimated.

● In 1866 the first hospital was built with the money of the Tyumen merchants.

● S. Kolokolnikov, the famous Tyumen merchant, founded a school for girls, a private school and a commercial school.

● Some small rural settlements were founded not far from Tyumen by rich landowners (Voynov, Parfenov, Antipin). Now they are parts of our town.

● In 1864 the first water supply system was erected with the money of the merchant Podaruev. No other towns and settlements in Siberia had one.

● A. Tekutyev, the merchant and the head of the town, founded a theatre, built the library named after Pushkin (which still works) and bought the first X-ray equipment for the hospital.

Step by step, by the beginning of the XIXth century Tyumen had turned into a significant manufacturing centre. The first in Siberia steamship was built there in 1838. Economic value of the city even more strengthened with opening of the steamship line and the railway from Ekaterinburg (1885). One of the largest in Russia trade fairs used to be held in Tyumen.

The family houses of some merchants are regarded as gems of Tyumen wooden architecture and have become the home of unusual museums: “The Museum of the History of the House”, “The Masharov Mansion Museum’, etc.

Thanks to its glorious history the tourist potential of Tyumen is very high. Tourists can do a lot of sightseeing. Nowadays the best way to see the town is to begin with Historic Square which is a really historic place. From Historic Square two main streets of Tyumen begin. The Regional Museum of Local Lore is in this square. It is located in the building of the former Town Duma. A local skilled craftsman A. Trusov invented a tower clock for this building. The founder of the museum was Ivan Slovtsov, a noted scholar, teacher, geographer and historian. The museum has rich collections of flora, fauna and minerals of The Tyumen Region.

Magnificent Znamensky Cathedral, the famous Church of our Lord the Saviour (Spasskaya) attract a lot of visitors. The citizens of Tyumen are proud of their city which represents the example of historical heritage of Western Siberia.

    1. Fill in the appropriate word(s) from the text above.

advantageous / window / trade / tin / place / steep / wealthy / glorious / two-storey / private / tourist / wooden / charitable / chimney

1 …….. route 8 …….. lace

2 ……..bank 9 …….. activities

3 …….. location 10 …….. merchants

4 …….. houses 11 …….. school

5 …….. caps 12 …….. architecture

6 …….. shutters 13 …….. history

7 …….. of exile 14 …….. potential

    1. Match the words in A with their definitions in B.


1 promontory, n

a) someone who buys and sells goods

2 sentry, n

b) something very special and beautiful

3 merchant, n

c) a well-educated person

4 pottery, n

d) a long narrow piece of land

5 settlement, n

e) a building where cultural and historical objects are kept and shown to the public

6 gem, n

f) importance

7 mansion, n

g) a soldier standing as a guard

8 scholar, n

h) an outdoor event at which products are shown and sold, often with entertainments

9 museum, n

i) a very large impressive house

10 fair, n

j) objects made out of baked clay

11 value, n

k) a group of houses and buildings where people live

    1. Are these statements true (T) or false(F)? If the statement is false, correct it.

1 Tyumen is poetically named “the Gate of Siberia”.

2 An ancient caravan road from Central Asia to Europe lay to the north of Tyumen.

3 Chingi-Tura was the second town built on the bank of the Tura River.

4 There were plenty of leather and soap factories at that time.

5 A rampart and a moat helped to protect a fortress in the 14th century.

6 Some buildings were made of stone, so they burnt down very often.

7 Exiled people lived outside the town.

8 The first hospital, theatre and commercial school were built with the money of A. Tekutyev, the merchant.

9 Rich collections of flora, fauna and minerals of The Tyumen Region are located in the building of the former Town Duma.

10 The historical heritage of Western Siberia is overwhelming.

11 The Holy Trinity Monastery is 800 years old.

    1. Which words in the text have the same meaning as:

1 constructed 4 artisan

2 rapidly 5 trader

3 steamer 6 driver

7 overrated 9 rich

8 citizens 10 establish?

    1. Which words in the text have the opposite meaning to:

1 carelessly 6 seldom

2 flat 7 decrease

3 western 8 slowly

4 destroyed 9 minority

5 low 10 urban?

    1. Study the factfile, then match the two parts of the sentences.

● Tyumen was the first settlement in Siberia, followed by Tobolsk (1587), Pelym (1593), Berezov (1593), Surgut (1594), Obdorsk (Salekhard) 1595) and others.

● The area along the Tobol and Tura Rivers was first inhabited not less than 5000 years ago.

● Tyumen developed very quickly. In 1624 there were 307 houses in the town.

● A lot of buildings were built of wood, so they burnt down very often. There were some big fires in the history of Tyumen (1668, 1687, 1695, 1705, 17660. In 1695 almost all the houses burnt down. The fire of 1705 destroyed 729 houses. After the fire of 1766 just a coachmen’s settlement remained. But every time Tyumen rose from the ashes.

● In 1692 Tyumen got its first coat of arms with a fox and beaver on it.

● In the 17th century Tyumen exported leather, clothes, fur, paper, wax, and numerous articles made of iron.

● In 1806 there were two small plants making church bells. Every year they produced 60-70 bells. They also produced small bells popular among coachmen.

● The first buildings made of stone were built in 1700. They were the church and the monastery.

● The population in Tyumen was the following in

1596 – 450 people 1897 – 29544 people

1624 – 1564 people 1912 – 32236 people

1763 – 6593 people 1999 – 559.600 people

1869 – 13824 people 2003 – 650.000 people

● The first school appeared 200 years after the foundation of Tyumen.

● In 1904 there were 110 streets and roads, 4 squares, 16 Orthodox churches, a monastery, 7 parish schools, 2 libraries, 1 museum, 3 publishing houses, 3 drugstores, 7 doctors, 271 shops, a theatre and a telephone.

1 In 1692 Tyumen got its first coat of arms

a) a producing church bells and small bells for coachmen.

2 The area along the Tura River was first inhabited

b) and numerous articles made of iron.

3 Tyumen was the first settlement in Siberia,

c) not less than 5000 years ago.

4 In the 17th century Tyumen exported leather, clothes, fur, paper, wax,

d) with a fox and beaver on it.

5 In the 19th century there were two small plants

e) after foundation of Tyumen.

6 The first buildings made of stone were built in 1700,

f) and 7 parish schools.

7 The first school appeared 200 years

g) followed by Tobolsk and Berezov.

8 In 1904 there were 16 Orthodox churches, a monastery

h) they were the church and the monastery.

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