Wooden Treasures of Siberia Face Demolition

Published October 14th, 2020 - 07:08 GMT

Tomsk is well known for its intricate "gingerbread" decoration of traditional wooden houses but the number of old homes in this style is decreasing. 

Tomsk is one of the oldest Siberian towns and was founded in 1604.

A scattering of the iconic buildings still boasts brightly-coloured and cared-for exteriors with intricate wood carvings adorning window frames and roofs. The townhouses represent some of the finest examples of wooden architecture in the country.

There are around 2,000 of the historic houses in the city. A large number, however, look as if they have been abandoned. Their future is uncertain. 

In 2016, a project was launched aimed at establishing a historic preservation zone in Tomsk within which the wooden houses could not be destroyed. 

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A woman walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexan

A woman walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

A woman walks past former house of Russian architect Stanislav Khomich, 1904, a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk, on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses ar

A woman walks past former house of Russian architect Stanislav Khomich, 1904, a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk, on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

People stand in front of a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration.

People stand in front of a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

A man walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexande

A man walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

People walk past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexande

People walk past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

A woman walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexan

A woman walks past a traditional wooden house in the on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towSiberian city of Tomskns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

A woman walks a dog past former house of Russian architect Stanislav Khomich, 1904, a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk, on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden hou

A woman walks a dog past former house of Russian architect Stanislav Khomich, 1904, a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk, on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

A woman walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexan
A woman walks past former house of Russian architect Stanislav Khomich, 1904, a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk, on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses ar
People stand in front of a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration.
A man walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexande
People walk past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexande
A woman walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexan
Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
A woman walks a dog past former house of Russian architect Stanislav Khomich, 1904, a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk, on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden hou
A woman walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexan
A woman walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
A woman walks past former house of Russian architect Stanislav Khomich, 1904, a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk, on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses ar
A woman walks past former house of Russian architect Stanislav Khomich, 1904, a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk, on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
People stand in front of a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration.
People stand in front of a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
A man walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexande
A man walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
People walk past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexande
People walk past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
A woman walks past a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexan
A woman walks past a traditional wooden house in the on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towSiberian city of Tomskns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP
A woman walks a dog past former house of Russian architect Stanislav Khomich, 1904, a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk, on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden hou
A woman walks a dog past former house of Russian architect Stanislav Khomich, 1904, a traditional wooden house in the Siberian city of Tomsk, on September 8, 2020. Tomsk is considered to be one of the oldest towns in Siberia founded in 1604. Wooden architecture is one of the symbols of the city of Tomsk, its distinctive feature. Today Tomsk is the only city in Siberia where the background wooden buildings have been preserved, reflecting the manor structure of the city streets. Unfortunately, many wooden houses are not in very good condition and require restoration. Alexander NEMENOV / AFP

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