Travel Guide Europe Russia Siberia Omsk

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Introduction

Omsk

Omsk

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Omsk is a city in the southwest of the Russian federal district of Siberia. The city has well over 1 million inhabitants, but like many Russian cities it is declining rapidly. 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 1.5 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.

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Sights and Activities

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.

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Weather

Omsk has a temperate climate characterized by dramatic swings of weather. Average daily temperatures, taken over the past three decades, are +20 °C for July and -17 °C for January, although temperatures can reach +40 °C in the summer and drop to -45 °C in the winter. On average, Omsk sees over 300 sunny days a year (2,201 hours). The average annual precipitation is 415 millimetres.

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Getting There

By Plane

Tsentralny Airport (OMS) is 7 kilometres south of the city and has flights to Moscow, Kazan, Krasnodar, Ufa, Düsseldorf, Tashkent, Yakutsk and seasonal to Hannover. The airport handles approximately 1 million passengers per year. When taking a taxi from the airport, be sure to negotiate the price in advance and take a legal taxi.

By Train

The railway station is 3-4 km south of city centre. Buses and trolley-buses run to the centre up Bolshoi Marxa Prospekt, fare approx RUB25, the conductors issue tickets on board and give change within reason. Omsk is located along the Trans-Siberian Railway, about 38 hours from Moscow, 76 hours from Irkutsk and over 6 days from Vladivostok.

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Getting Around

By Car

Taxis are plentiful and there are several taxi companies operating in Omsk.

By Public Transport

Public transport operates from 06:00 to 23:00 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 RUB22 and a ride in a marshrutka costs RUB20-25.

Trolley N4 & N7, and buses N50, 60 and 69 are particularly useful.

By Foot

The city centre around Lyubinsky prospekt is easily walkable and is best explored on foot. In autumn 2017 Lenin St south of the River Om is being dug up and is difficult to walk along, but businesses there and the cathedral remain open.

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Eat

American chains including McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, Friday's, and Sbarro have locations in Omsk.

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Omsk or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Russia is a huge country, and excess to the internet varies a lot. The main cities and tourist places have (free) wifi excess at lots of places, like restaurants and cafes (McDonald's is always a safe bet). Internet cafes are present in larger places as well. Rural areas and especially if you venture into remote and/or mountainous areas have little excess at all. Most travellers will find connections though when using their phone or tablet.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The emergency number is 112. The country code for Russia is 7. Russian phone numbers have an area code with three, four or five digits (according to their province), followed by an individual number with, respectively, 7, 6 or 5 digits, always yielding 10 digits in total. The three digit code 800 is used for toll-free calls. Mobile phones always have three-digit "area" codes and seven-digit numbers. Calls within any one area code may omit the area code (except in Moscow). Inter-area code calls within Russia: 8 (wait for tone) full Russian number including area code. The international access code for dialling outwith Russia is the sequence of 8 (wait for secondary tone and then) 10. International calls to Russia, as always, replace the plus sign (+) in the international phone format with the local international access code for the country you're calling from, followed by Russia's country code of 7 followed by the individual Russian phone number including area code.

You will require a SIM-unlocked GSM 900 / 1800 compatible international cell phone when buying a Russian SIM card. If you do not have your own international cell phone, it's best to buy a cheap cell phone with some value on the card. Foreigners can purchase a local SIM card by showing your passport. BeeLine is considered to be the best in terms of reliability and connections quality. However Megafon's services can be a bit cheaper.

Post

Russian Post is the national postal service of Russia. It's English version is currently under construction, but mainly involves the track&trace system. The domestic post is reasonably reliable, and sending international mail is fairly reliable but slow, taking at least a few weeks to European countries, longer to the USA or Australia for example. The delivery of mail sent from abroad to Russia is highly unreliable, and people or companies tend to use foreign adresses, from where a private carrier sends it to Russia. Alternatives like poste restante are non-existent with Russian Post. Most cities and large towns in Russia have a Central Post Office (Glavpochtamt), which also sells stamps and envelopes, and usually has fax services and Internet availability, though the latter mostly not in smaller places. Also, many hotels have postal services, including mail boxes. Post offices tend to keep long hours, usually from 8:00am or 9:00am until 8:00pm or 9:00pm Monday to Friday, and closing earlier during weekends. The main central post offices in the biggest cities keep even longer hours. For sending parcels, you can also try services by DHL Russia and FedEx Russia. For all mail you can use the regular alphabet, though maybe include the country's name in Cyrillic. For sending post to Russia (or trying to receive it) note that addresses should be in reverse order: Russia, postal code, city, street address, name.

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Accommodation in Omsk

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Omsk searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Omsk and areas nearby.

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This is version 4. Last edited at 9:32 on Nov 1, 17 by Utrecht. 8 articles link to this page.

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