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Image:Omsk flag.gif
Image:Omsk gerb.jpeg
Flag Seal
Location of Omsk in Russia
Coordinates: 54°58′N 73°23′E
Oblast Omsk
Mayor Viktor Shreider
 - City 573 km²
 - Land 573 km²
 - Water 0 km²
Elevation +87 m
 - City (2002) 1 134 016
 - Density 1 979/km²

Omsk (Russian: Омск) is a city in southwest Siberia in Russia, the administrative center of Omsk Oblast. The population in Omsk rose from 31,000 in 1881 and 53,050 in 1900 to 1,134,016 according to the 2002 population census. It is the second-largest city in the Siberian Federal District. The distance from Omsk to Moscow is 2,700 km. Geographical location: 54°59′N 73°22′E.

In the Imperial Russia, it was the seat of the Governor General of Western Siberia, and later of the Governor General of the Steppes. For a brief period during the Russian Civil War in 1918–1919, it was proclaimed the Capital of Russia, and held the imperial gold reserves.

Omsk is the administrative center of Siberian Cossacks, the see of the bishop of Omsk and Tara, and the imam of Siberia.


[edit] Location

Situated on the banks of the north-flowing Irtysh, at its confluence with the Om River, at an altitude of 87 m, and on both branches of the Trans-Siberian railway, 2,700 km east of Moscow, it is the cross-junction of highways in the central part of Russian Federation. Passenger and freight boats along the Irtysh and the Ob Rivers provide connection from coal and mineral-mining towns in Kazakhstan, as well as oil, natural gas and lumber-rich northern Siberia. Scheduled and charter flights link Omsk with multiple domestic and international (primarily, German) destinations, making it an important air gateway to Siberia and the Far East.

[edit] Climate

The climate is dry and continental, characterized by dramatic swings of weather. The average daily temperatures are, over the last 30 years, +20°C in July and −19°C in January, although typical extremes reach +35°C in the summer and −35°C in the winter. The average number of sunny days is over 300 per year. The annual rainfall is 315 mm.

[edit] History

The wooden fort of Omsk was erected in 1716 to protect the expanding Russian frontier, along the Ishim and the Irtysh rivers against the nomads (Kirghiz) of the Steppes. In the late 1700s, stronger works of brick were erected on the right bank of the Om; of these, the original Tobolsk and the restored Tara gates still stand, along with the original German Lutheran Church, an armory, a military jail, and commandant's house.
Krestovozdvizhensky cathedral

In 1800s and early 1900s, Omsk became the administrative center of Western Siberia and the Steppes (Kazakhstan), acquiring a few churches and cathedrals of various denominations, mosques, a synagogue, the governor-general's mansion, a military academy. Ink was joked to have been sold by the buckets. As the frontier receded and military importance diminished, the town fell into lethargy; it was during the mid-1800s that Dostoevsky lived and wrote in exile here.

Lyubinsky avenue, "Moscow" merchant row

The new boom began with the construction of the Trans-Siberian railway in 1890s, when the merchants flocked to the city on the rail/river junction. Many a trade company opened stores and offices here, building an elaborately decorated district of the city, and bringing the hustle-and-bustle of modern transportation, means of communications and entertainment. Foreign powers, including the British, Dutch and Germans, opened consulates to represent their commercial interests. The pinnacle came with the lavish Siberian Exposition of Agriculture and Industry in 1910, for which a complex of buildings and fountains was constructed. In line with the popularity of World Fairs of the day, the exposition influenced observers to foretell the wonders of the "Chicago of Siberia". Many of the period's buildings survive (though none from the expo), and the architecture gives the city center a distinguished historical Siberian town flavor.

Shortly after the 1917 revolution, the pro-monarchy "white" forces seized control of the city. The "Provisional Government of Russia" was established in 1918, headed by the polar explorer and decorated war hero Admiral Kolchak. Omsk was proclaimed the Capital of Russia, and its central bank kept the Imperial gold reserves, guarded by the Czechoslovakian garrison trapped in the chaos of the World War I. The city proved to be a key to power in Western Siberia; eventually, Kolchak, the government, and the gold retreated along the Trans-Siberian eastward to Irkutsk, and the bolshevik "red" forces took control in 1919.

[edit] Soviet Era

The Soviet government preferred the young Novonikolaevsk, now Novosibirsk, to be the designated center of Western Siberia, prompting the mass transfer of administrative, cultural and educational functions from Omsk, dampening the city's growth and sparking a rivalry between the two cities continuing to this day. It was during and after the World War II that Omsk received a new boost: many industries were evacuated away from Russia's western front. In the event of a German victory during the Battle of Moscow, Omsk was to become the provisional Soviet capital. However, the concentration of military enterprises also had negative effects, as until 1990s, the city stayed closed to foreigners, and, after 1990, the collapse of the Soviet military demand led to high unemployment.

In the 1950s, following the development of oil and natural gas field in Siberia, an oil-refining complex was built, along with an entire "town of oilworkers", expanding Omsk northward along the Irtysh. It is currently the largest complex in Russia, and third such in Europe. Gazprom Neft, the parent company, is the largest employer in the city, wielding its tax address as leverage in negotiations with municipal and regional authorities.

Nightlife around the Mayakovsky entertainment complex
Leningrad bridge over the Irtysh

[edit] Omsk Today

Image:Omsk St Nicolas Cathedral.jpg
St.Nicholas Cossacs Cathedral

Since the 1990s, Omsk, along with all of Russia, has been struggling to find its place in the new world. The former party elite, new businessmen and the criminal world mixed together and fought for the control of the city's most profitable enterprises. The most notorious cases involved Sibneft, and were reported by the New York Times, yet nothing was ever resolved. Until 2000, the feud between the regional and the municipal authorities made at least two points of view available to the public, and some work was done for the public good. This includes the establishment of the annual Siberian International Marathon (SIM), the celebration of City Days, construction of new leisure parks and renovation of the historic center. Nevertheless, the feud drained the city's resources, and two mayors were forced to leave, with a replacement all but appointed by the region's governor, in his post since the communist era. Currently, all of the region's important power levers, including the courts and the media, are in the hands of the regional government. The city is underperforming the Russian averages on economic growth and quality of life.

On March 2 2005, the Consulate General of the Republic of Kazakhstan was opened, the first consulate in Omsk since 1917.

[edit] Landmarks

Image:Omsk Drama Theatre.jpg
Omsk Drama Theater

The city's chief landmark is actually an ensemble of buildings along Lyubinskiy prospekt / ulica Lenina. This is the former merchant's row, balanced by two chapels and crowned on the hill with a bourse and an opposing drama theater, all dating from late 1800s -- early 1900s. The little side streets are lined with stately mansions of former insurance companies, trusts and banks from the same period. Hidden closer to the river confluence are the few surviving practical and somber buildings of Omsk's 1700s fortress. Another area of interest is Nikolsky prospekt / ulica Krasnyh zor', where a line of merchants' wooden houses still stands. The street leads to the Neoclassical cathedral of St Nicholas, which was commissioned by the Cossacks, designed by Vasily Stasov and consecrated in 1840. It contains various relics of the Siberian Cossacks. Various other landmarks are scattered throughout the city.

The major museums in Omsk are the Omsk Vrubel Art Gallery- and the State Historical Museum, located in the former bourse building and the governor-general's mansion, respectively.

[edit] Metro

Image:Omsk Metro English.png
Planned metro network

A subway system, proposed in the late 80s, but postponed for lack of funds, is currently under construction, with the Metro bridge over the Irtysh river. The bridge is already opened for cars (upper level), but the metro (lower level) is still under construction. As a first step one short line will connect the districts in the northwest with the city center. The first line of the metro is scheduled to be finished in 2008.

[edit] Sports

Avangard Omsk is an ice hockey team, 2004 National champion, based in Omsk, playing in the Russian Hockey Super League.

[edit] Education

Omsk is home to many institutions of higher learning and several universities.

[edit] Sister cities

[edit] Trivia

The Omsk 3406 asteroid, which lies in the main asteroid belt, is named for the city. Furthermore, in 1997, Bella Aleksiivna Burmashova, the discoverer of the asteroid, "presented" it to the mayor of Omsk, effectively making it the city's most outlying district.

[edit] External links

Image:Omsk Coa 2003.jpg Cities and towns in Omsk Oblast Image:Flag of Russia.svg
Administrative center: Omsk

Isilkul | Kalachinsk | Nazyvayevsk | Omsk | Tara | Tyukalinsk


cv:Омск cs:Omsk da:Omsk de:Omsk et:Omsk el:Ομσκ es:Omsk eo:Omsk fr:Omsk ko:옴스크 os:Омск it:Omsk he:אומסק lv:Omska nl:Omsk ja:オムスク no:Omsk nn:Omsk pl:Omsk pt:Omsk ro:Omsc ru:Омск sl:Omsk fi:Omsk sv:Omsk uk:Омськ zh:鄂木斯克


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