A battle between the Cossacks led by Yermak Timofeyevich and the troops of Tatar khan Kuchum took place on Chuvash Cape in 1582. As a result of the battle, which ended in the victory of the Cossacks, Siberian lands were finally annexed to Russia.
Five years later, in 1587, the Cossacks built a wooden stockade and a Trinity church 17 kilometers from the place of the Battle of Chuvash Cape. This year is considered the date of the foundation of Tobolsk. The Tobolsk stockade was the second stockade in Siberia. A year earlier a stockade was built in Tyumen but it served only as a transit point. So Tobolsk was destined to become the capital of Siberia for two centuries.
In 1596 Tobolsk was confirmed in the status of the capital of Siberian prikaz (ministry) and in 1621 it also became the spiritual center of Siberian eparchy. In spite of often fires Tobolsk quickly developed. In 1683 at the Tobolsk Kremlin there began the construction of the first stone building in Siberia. It was the Sophia Cathedral. About the same time there began the construction of another stone church (the second in Siberia). It was the famous Znamenski cathedral of a monastery situated in Abalak village 20 kilometers from Tobolsk.
In 1782 Tobolsk was made the administrative center of Tobolsk vice-regency established by an order issued by Empress Catherine II. The first provincial architect А. Guchev, who came from St. Petersburg, drafted the new general urban plan and developed the Kremlin reconstruction project. Two new buildings appeared in the general urban plan: the palace of the vice-regent and the house of the bishop. Catherine II sent a throne for the palace of the vice-regent. There are only three such thrones in Russia – in St. Petersburg, in Moscow and in Tobolsk. This stressed the great importance and the high status of Tobolsk as the capital of vast lands to the east from the Ural.
However, Tobolsk vice-regency existed for only several years. Already in 1797 the next emperor Paul I abolished vice-regencies and returned provinces. In 19 century the importance of Tobolsk, as well as its status, significantly decreased. In 1804 Tomsk province was created, which included all lands to the west from Tomsk. And in 1838 the capital of Western Siberia was moved from Tobolsk to Omsk.
The reason for the decay of the first Siberian towns was the transfer of trade routes to the south. The character of the development of Siberia changed. The economic activity and with it the population moved to the southern forest-steppe regions of Siberia. Finally, the Trans-Siberian Railway was also built in those parts. So in 20 century Tobolsk turned into a small district town.
However, although it lost its administrative status, Tobolsk can be rightly called the most touristically attractive town in Siberia, as there remained the wonderful monuments, which were built in the period of its prosperity in 17-18 centuries.