Omsk is a city and administrative center of Omsk oblast of Russia. Located about 2,600 km away from Moscow, it is a large transportation junction of Siberia (Trans-Siberian Railway, federal highways, river port, airport). Omsk main industries include machine building, metallurgy, oil and chemical industries.
Omsk population is about 1,157,000 (2012); land area - 573 sq. km.
The phone code is +7 3812; postal codes - 644000-644xxx.
Omsk is standing on the banks of the Irtysh River at the confluence with the Om River. The rivers connect Omsk with various coal and other mineral mining cities and towns of Kazakhstan and with oil, natural gas and lumber rich regions of Siberia.
The city airport “Tsentralny” has various domestic and international (mostly to Germany) flights. It is an important gateway to Siberian and Far East regions of Russia. There are a lot of attractions and places of interest in Omsk including churches, historic sites, various monuments and others.
The majority of people living in Omsk are Russians (about 85%) so Orthodox Christianity is the most widespread religion there.
Also it should be mentioned that about 5% of population are Kazakhs and Tatars so Islam is on the second place.
Omsk was founded in 1716 with building a small wooden fort with the only purpose to defend Russian eastern borders along the Irtysh and the Ishim rivers. At the end of the 18th century, brick fortress was built on the right bank of the Om River.
Later, during the 19th century, the importance of Omsk as frontier military center diminished and the growth of the town was not significant. In the middle of the 19th century, famous Russian writer F.M.Dostoevsky was exiled to Omsk.
In 1890, with constructing of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the city began to grow quickly and received the official status of West Siberian and Steppe (Kazakhstan) capital. In 1910, Omsk was the home to Siberian Exposition of Agriculture and Industry.
After the exposition, the city received nickname “Siberian Chicago”. After the establishing of Soviet power, Novosibirsk was chosen to be the capital of Western Siberia.
Omsk lost a lot of its administrative, educational and other functions. The growth continued during and after the World War II when several large industries were evacuated to the city from the western parts of the Soviet Union.
After the war, Omsk was one of the most important military centers of the Soviet Union. Also, in 1950, the city became an oil refining center with the developing of natural gas and oil deposits of Siberia.
Omsk had the status of “closed city”, so no foreigner could visit it without special permission. The concentration of military enterprises led to significant increasing of unemployment with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Nowadays, the city is open to visitors, there are no any restrictions on visiting it.