Omsk Travel Guide

Omsk Travel Guide

photo of the Omsk Opera House

Introduction


Omsk is an industrial, scientific and cultural centre of Siberia. The city can boast various industrial enterprises, two dozen higher educational institutions, six theatres and modern hotels. It attracts businessmen and tourists from other Russian cities and countries. Magnificent churches, cultural sites and Russian hospitality make Omsk a nice holiday destination.


Historical Overview


Omsk was founded in 1716. On the order of Peter I, Lieutenant Colonel Buchholz landed with a detachment of soldiers and Cossacks at the Om River and founded a fortress which became known as Omsk. This fortress was built to protect Siberia from nomads.
The fortress stood there for more than 50 years. In 1768-1771, on the initiative of General I.I. Springer, the commander of the Siberian Corps, a new fortress was built on the right bank of the Om River. It featured improved engineering structures. In August 1782, the Omsk fortress became one of ten district settlements of the Tobolsk governorship, and in October it was given the status of a city.
Two independent governorships, West Siberian and East Siberian, were founded in 1822. Omsk was chosen as a place of permanent residence of the governor-general. Later, he asked the government to transfer the Central Administration of Western Siberia from Tobolsk to Omsk. As a result, Omsk became the main city of Western Siberia. The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway influenced the development of the region and made Omsk a major transportation centre with an advantageous geographic location at the crossroads of the Irtysh River and the mainland railway line. The bridge across the Irtysh River was built in March 1896, when it became the railway line between Chelyabinsk and Novosibirsk. In the 19th-20th centuries, Omsk turned into one of the largest industrial and cultural centres of
Western Siberia. New buildings in the classical architectural style appeared in Omsk at the beginning of the 20th century (for example, the Treasury Chamber and the provincial treasury). The Moscow shopping arcade, designed by the famous architect P.V. Dessin, was built on Chernavinsky (Lubinsky) Avenue in 1903.
The construction of a drama theatre was completed in 1905. The house of judicial institutions, the Railway Administration and other buildings were built during that time. After October 1917, the city became the political centre of Soviet power in Western Siberia. In the period from June 1918 to November 1919, Omsk was the residence of the Supreme Ruler of Russia, Admiral A.V. Kolchak, who declared Omsk the capital of Siberia.
A convenient geographical position, a developed system of institutions and political stability made Omsk one of the largest economic, scientific and cultural centres in Russia. The Trans-Siberian railway, the Irtysh River and the airport ensured its rapid and comprehensive development. Today, the population of Omsk is about 1.3 million people covering more than 110 nationalities.


Where to Stay


Most hotels and guest houses are concentrated in the city centre. Have a look at some of the hotels on Maslennikova Street: Standartoff, Moni Hotel Z or Globus Hotel. You can also stay near the embankment of the Irtysh River at Moloko Hostel or Amaks Omsk Hotel. If you travel on business and stay here for a short time, there are also a few options near the airport. Book Aero Hotel, Nika Spa Hotel, Hotel 41 or Noy Hotel.


Bars and Restaurants


As a modern city, Omsk offers a wide variety of cuisine, from Russian and Georgian to Italian and Japanese. For example, at Lapshichnaya, you can try Asian spice soups and curries. Tamada is a fancy Georgian restaurant, and lobiyo (red beans), fried lamb or khachapuri (bread with cheese) are highly recommended. Kolchak is a mixture of an Irish Pub and a cosy restaurant.
They offer a wide selection of tap and traditional beverages like vodka or kvas. Tourists also recommend visiting Base, Berlin, Senkevich, Evropa and Lugovskaya Sloboda. For something to drink, have a look at Pushkin Pub and Club or Piter@Pan. There are also lots of cafes to stop off at for a cup of coffee (Coffee Rooms, TinTo Café, Traveller's Coffee or Skuratov).


What to See

 

  • The Assumption Cathedral is the biggest cathedral in Omsk, rebuilt after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is included in the list of the world's temple culture and considered to be a unique monument of Russian architecture.
  • Go for a walk along the Irtysh embankment. The promenade along the Irtysh River is very long and reaches as far as the railway station. You can also rent a bicycle and experience the real Omsk atmosphere. It’s one of the favourite places of both locals and tourists. Omsk honeymooners like to take memorable photos here.
  • A former home to Admiral Kolchak’s government, the Art Museum contains a collection of decorative arts.
  • The Lutheran Church of St Catherine is located in the historical part of Omsk. It is the only religious building in the style of Siberian Baroque from the 18th century. This church operated until 1930 and is now the Museum of Internal Affairs of the Omsk region.
  • The Omsk fortress is a popular tourist destination. However, only a few historical and cultural sites have been restored: the Tobolsk Gates, the Omsk, Tarsky and Irtysh, and the Money Pantry. Nowadays, the other buildings of the cultural and historical complex are being restored (the arsenal, the dining room and the engineering workshop).
  • The Tarsky Gate is a symbol of Omsk. It was built in 1792 in honour of the town of Tara. Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russia’s greatest writer, passed through the Tarsky Gate when he was in Omsk. The Gate led to a bastion where there was a prison for convicts.
  • Nikolsky Cathedral of Omsk is one of the oldest churches in the city. The majestic Russian classicism building was designed by the famous architect V. Stasov. It attracts visitors with its high dome, elegant bell tower and bright yellow facade. Here, you will see the miraculous Abalak Icon of the Mother of God, the image of St John of Tobolsk and the relics of the saints. Tourists also admire the magnificent three-tier iconostasis and dome paintings.
  • Omsk Academic Drama Theatre is the oldest theatre in Siberia, built in 1905. It’s a unique piece of Siberian baroque architecture.
  • If you want to find out more about the history of the city, visit the Historical Museum.

Here, you will find the skeleton of a woolly mammoth, a French car from the early 20th century, the flag of the Cossack army of 1690, several rare icons, a collection of Old Believers costumes and other interesting items.


Transport


You can get to the city by train or plane. The airport is just 7 km from the centre. It is a major transport hub with two main traffic arteries, the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Irtysh River. Public transport in Omsk boasts a well-developed network of buses, minibuses and trams which operate from 6.00am and take you to any place you need. The schedules can be viewed on the online maps (you will need buses No. 50, 60 and 69). The best way to explore the city centre is on foot, but if you feel tired, take a taxi (Uber, Yandex or Gett taxi).