Founded in 1716 as a fortress on the Imperial Russia's expanding southern frontier, by 1850s Omsk grew to become the capital of Western Siberia and parts of Central Asia. The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway in the late 1890s brought a rapid development boom, culminating in an extravagant 1910s World Fair, around the time of which Omsk acquired much of its neoclassical architectural heritage. Largely due to its strategic importance as the gateway to Siberia and the Russian Far East, Admiral Kolchak of the anti-Soviet White Army chose Omsk as his base and "capital of Russia" in 1918–1919.
Today, Omsk is Russia's seventh largest city with a population of over 1.1 million. An Omsk visit is one of the highlights of a trip to Siberia for the city's attractive and bustling 19th century center, and its numerous cultural opportunities. Literature lovers will find a special interest in Omsk, as it was Dostoevsky's home during the majority of his exile from Saint Petersburg.
Omsk Tsentralny Airport (Аэропорт г.Омска) is located 7km south of the city centre. The airport handles approximately 1 million passengers per year. There are regular flights between Omsk and Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Astana, Bishkek, Istanbul, Novosibirsk, Simferopol, and Yekaterinburg.
When taxing a taxi from the airport, be sure to negotiate the price in advance and take a legal taxi cab.
The city center around Lyubinsky prospekt is easily walkable and is best explored on foot.
By public transport
Public transport operates from 6:00AM to 11:00PM and will take you to most places you need to go. Route maps are available online. A ticket for a bus, trolleybus, or tram costs RUB12 and a ride in a marshrutka costs RUB20.
Trolley N4 & N7, and buses N50, 60 and 69 are particularly useful.
Taxis are plentiful and there are several taxi companies operating in Omsk.
The historical part of town is centered on Lyubinsky prospekt, near the confluence of the Om and Irtysh rivers. It is lined with century-old buildings of former merchant salons, residences, and larger commercial, government and religious establishments. The area now has some of the poshest shopping and the best nightlife in the city.
Ulica Krasnyh Zor' (aka Nikol'skij prospekt) leads from the Cossacks' cathedral to a few blocks of historical carved-wood houses. This street can give an idea what Omsk and Siberia used to be like for centuries before industrialization. Unfortunately, these houses are not yet protected as cultural heritage landmarks and may eventually be demolished.
- Omsk State Museum of Local History (Omskiy Gosudarstvennyy Istoriko-Kraevedcheskiy Muzey), ul. Lenina, 23, ☎ +7 381 231-47-47. In the former West Siberian Governor's mansion — look for the ebony Kalmyk throne and the outfits of the local nomads before the Russian colonization. Admiral Kolchak, the head of the White government, lived here in 1918-19, supported by the Western powers and the Russian gold reserves.
- Museum Complex of Military Glory of Omsk, ul. Taube, 7, ☎ +7-3812-23-85-50. Features exhibits on World War II, Afghanistan, and the Chetchen conflict.
- Omsk Regional M.A. Vrubel Museum of Fine Arts, ul. Lenina, 3 (across the street from the Drama Theater). In the former bourse building. Houses an interesting collection including a few Rerikhs.
- Liberov-Center State Regional Art Museum (Государственный областной художественный музей), Dumskaya ul. 3, ☎ +7 381 230-16-45. In a historical wooden house.
- St. Nicholas Cossack Cathedral, ul. Lenina, 27, ☎ +7 3812-315748. Built in 1843, it is one of the oldest churches in Siberia. During communist times, it was used as a cinema and concert hall.
- Assumption Cathedral (Uspenskij sobor), ul. Internacional'naja, 12, ☎ +7 3812249065. Built in the 1890s, it is one of the largest churches in Siberia.
- Omsk Drama Theatre (Омский академический театр драмы), ul. Lenina, 8А, ☎ +7 381 224-40-65. An ornate theatre and a city icon, with great performances that always sell out.
- Arena-Omsk (Арена Омск), Lukashevicha, 35, ☎ +7 381 270-71-27. A 10,318 seat arena built in 2007. The ice hockey team Omsk "Avangard" is based here.
Omsk is rich in shopping. There is a big difference between the rich and the poor in the city, and this is visible in its shopping malls. While there are shops with extremely cheap goods, there are also modern, upscale malls where every shop is very expensive; a simple shirt at one of these stores could be £100, for example, and a handbag £200. Nevertheless, Omsk offers some great shops with lots of goods.
American chains including KFC, Subway, Friday's, and Sbarro have locations in Omsk.
- Elki-Palki (Russian restaurant), 10 let Oktyabrya, 40 (Atrium-Kino entertainment center).
- Gollandskaya Chashka, Karla Libknehta St., 11, ☎ +7-3812-252379, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A great place to eat and chat.
- Irtysh (Russian restaurant), Mira, 62, ☎ +7 3812 22-40-14. 12.00-24.00.
- Kochegarka, Lermontova St., 77, ☎ +73812-532909. Local flavor and ambiance with a great selection of food and drinks.
- Lapshichnaya (Little Flower in Big Window), Lenina St., 20. A great place for a quick bite or beer.
- Zhenatyy Frantsuz, Lenina St., 7, ☎ +73812-30-83-82, e-mail: email@example.com. A great French restaurant.
- Kolchak, Broz Tito str., 2/1, ☎ +7-3812-45-99-99, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Irish pub. One of the only pubs in Siberia where you can drink Guinness. The beer selection is great, but the food is not.
- Pivnaya Biblioteka (Library Brewhouse), Partizanskaya St., 4, ☎ +7-3812-201063, e-mail: email@example.com. A café/bar with a library.
- Bar Omskih Bikerov, Karla Marksa Av, 36.
- Ogurtsy, Karla Marksa Av, 5А. Karaoke.
- Millenium na Marksa, pr-kt Karla Marksa 84a, (on the main road opposite the train station (well, actually in a little courtyard behind the main road), about 15 minutes by public transport from the centre), ☎ +8 3812 30 85 77, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: any time, small fee for leaving bags, check-out: before mid-day. Hostel is on two (at least) floors, each floor has numerous bathrooms, a large kitchen, laundry facilities, WiFi and computer access. Offers dorms & privates, as an example 4-person private 2000 RUR.
- Flagman Hotel, Frunze ul., 80 (Part of a large office complex in the city centre), ☎ +7 381 243-31-11. 3-star hotel.
- Ibis-Sibir Omsk, Lenina ul. 22. 3-star hotel. From RUB3,000.
- Mayak Hotel, Lermontova ul.2 (at the crossing of two rivers — where Omsk fortress was founded). RUB3,400-12,200
- Nika, Lermontov str., 62, ☎ +73812510734. Check-in: 12.00, check-out: 12.00. A nice small hotel with a restaurant and a sauna. Popular and can be fully booked with ice hockey teams. You could try horse meat at the restaurant along with Stella Artois beer on draft. Single: RUB2,000-2,600; Double: RUB3,000-3,700; Sauna (6 people): RUB600/hour; Breakfast: RUB250.
- Turist Hotel Omsk, Josip Broz Tito ul. 2. Noisy, but good location and value. From RUB2,500.
Dangerous areas of the city are Neftyaniki (town of oilmen), Amurskiy posyolok (Amur settlement), Port Arthur, Staryi Kirovsk (Old Kirovsk), and the area of the Omsk tire plant.
- Germany (Honourary Consulate), 1st Voennaya street, 7, building 2, ☎ +7 3812 32-38-33, fax: +7 (3812) 54-48-95.
- Kazakhstan, Chokana Valikhanova street, 9, ☎ +7 3812 32-5213, fax: +7 (3812) 32-5205, e-mail: email@example.com.
Omsk is a convenient hub for several regional attractions. Distances are large and locals will consider a city 700km away to be 'nearby'. However, trains are reliable.
- Tobolsk and Tomsk are the oldest cities of Siberia. Because the main transportation arteries originally bypassed them, the towns stayed small, avoiding the typical Soviet development, and retaining their unique picturesque characters. They are reachable by overnight train, or, in the case of Tobolsk, by speed jet boat along the Irtysh River (10-12 hours). Irregular boats also operate to Khanty-Mansiysk and Salekhard, within the Arctic Circle. This is the best way to see the West Siberian terrain, grand rivers, and rural lifestyle. For some towns, this boat is the only access to the outside world.
- Barnaul (16 hours by train or a 1.5 hour flight) is the gateway to the Altai mountains and national parks.
- Kazakhstan is accessible by train - Petropavlovsk (4 hours), Astana (12 hours), or bus - Pavlodar (8 hours).
|Routes through Omsk|
|Yekaterinburg ← Tyumen ←||W E||→ Novosibirsk → Irkutsk|