Tyumen (Russian: Тюмень; IPA: [tʲʉˈmʲenʲ] ( listen)) is the largest city and the administrative center of Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located on the Tura River 1,700 kilometers (1,100 mi) east of Moscow. Population: 581,907 (2010 Census); 510,719 (2002 Census); 476,869 (1989 Census).
Tyumen was the first Russian settlement in Siberia. Founded in 1586 to support Russia’s eastward expansion, the city has remained one of the most important industrial and economic centers east of the Ural Mountains. Located at the junction of several important trade routes and with easy access to navigable waterways, Tyumen rapidly developed from a small military settlement to a large commercial and industrial city. The central part of Old Tyumen retains many historic buildings from throughout the city’s history.
Today Tyumen is one of Russia’s most important business centers and is prominent in the political and cultural life of Russia.
Tyumen is the transport hub and industrial center of Tyumen Oblast—a vast oil-rich region stretching from the Kazakh border to the Arctic Ocean—as well as the home of many companies active in Russia’s oil and gas industry.
Weliki Tumen (the Great Tyumen) is shown on Gerhard Mercator’s map of Asia (published in 1595) as located south of Perm and Sibier
The Tyumen area, originally part of the Siberia Khanate, was annexed to Russia by the Cossack ataman Yermak Timofeyevich in 1585. On July 29, 1586, Tsar Feodor I ordered two regional commanders, Vasily Borisov-Sukin and Ivan Myasnoy, to construct a fortress on the site of the former Tatar town of Chingi-Tura (‘city of Chingis’), also known as Tyumen, from the Turkish and Mongol word for ‘ten thousand.'
Tyumen was founded on the «Tyumen Portage» on the historical trade route between Central Asia and the Volga region. Control of the portage had been continuously contested by various South Siberian nomads in the preceding centuries. As a result, early Russian settlers were often attacked by Tatar and Kalmyk raiders. These attacks caused Tyumen’s population to be dominated by the Streltsy and Cossack garrisons stationed in the town until the mid-17th century. As the area became less restive, the town began to take on a less military character.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Tyumen had developed into an important center of trade between Siberia and China in the east and Central Russia in the west. Tyumen had also become an important industrial center, known for leather goods makers, blacksmiths, and other craftsmen. In 1763, 7,000 people were recorded as living in the town.
In the 19th century the town’s development continued. In 1836, the first steam boat in Siberia was built in Tyumen. In 1862, the telegraph came to the town, and in 1864 the first water mains were laid. Further prosperity came to Tyumen after the construction, in 1885, of the Trans-Siberian Railway. For some years, Tyumen was Russia’s easternmost railhead, and the site of transhipment of cargoes between the railway and the cargo boats plying the Tyumen, Tobol, Irtysh, and Ob Rivers.
By the end of the 19th century, Tyumen’s population exceeded 30,000, surpassing that of its northern rival Tobolsk, and beginning a process whereby Tyumen gradually eclipsed the former regional capital. The growth of Tyumen culminated on August 14, 1944 when the city finally became the administrative center of extensive Tyumen
At the outbreak of the Russian Civil War, Tyumen was controlled by forces loyal to Admiral Alexander Kolchak and his Siberian White Army. However, the city fell to the Red Army on January 5, 1918.
During the 1930s, Tyumen became a major industrial center of the Soviet Union. By the onset of World War II, the city had several well-established industries, including shipbuilding, furniture manufacture, and the manufacture of fur and leather goods.
World War II saw rapid growth and development in the city. In the winter of 1941, twenty-two major industrial enterprises were evacuated to Tyumen from the European part of the Soviet Union. These enterprises were put into operation the following spring. Additionally, war-time Tyumen became a «hospital city», where thousands of wounded soldiers were treated.
During the initial stages of World War II, when there was a possibility that Moscow would fall to the advancing German Army, Tyumen also became a refuge for the body of the deceased Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. Lenin’s body was secretly moved from Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow to a hidden tomb located in what is now the Tyumen State Agriculture Academy. (former Tyumen Agriculture Institute).
Between 1941 and 1945, more than 20,000 Tyumen natives saw action at the front. Almost a third, about 6,000, perished in action (the exact number is uncertain as official data includes non-native soldiers who died in Tyumen’s hospitals).
After the discovery of rich oil and gas fields in Tyumen Oblast in the 1960s, Tyumen became the focus of the Soviet oil industry. The activities of the oil industry caused a second economic and population boom in Tyumen. While most of the oil and gas fields were hundreds of kilometers to the north of the city, near the towns of Surgut and Nizhnevartovsk, Tyumen was the nearest railway junction as well as the oblast administrative center. These advantages made Tyumen the natural site for numerous oil related enterprises which contributed to the city’s development between 1963 and 1985. These years saw the arrival in Tyumen of tens of thousands of skilled workers from across the Soviet Union.
The rapid growth of the city also brought a host of problems, as the growing population quickly outstripped Tyumen’s limited social infrastructure. As well, the lack of city planning has resulted in uneven development which Tyumen has continued to struggle with into the present.