Omsk is a city and the administrative center of Omsk Oblast, Russia, located in southwestern Siberia 2,236 kilometers (1,389 mi) from Moscow. With a population of 1,154,116, it is Russia's second-largest city east of the Ural Mountains after Novosibirsk, and seventh by size nationally.
During the Imperial era, Omsk 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 1918–1920, it served as the capital of the anti-Bolshevik Russian State and held the imperial gold reserves.
Omsk is the administrative center of the Siberian Cossack Host. It also serves as the see of the bishop of Omsk and Tara, as well as the administrative seat of the Imam of Siberia.
Omsk stretches along the banks of the north-flowing Irtysh at its confluence with the smaller Om River. The city has an elevation of 87 meters (285 ft) above mean sea level at its highest point.
Omsk is an important railroad hub, and is the junction point for the northern and southern branches of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The city also serves as a major hub for the regional highway network. River-port facilities handle both passengers and freight, giving the city access to navigating the extensive waterways of the Irtysh and Ob River. The waterways connect Omsk with the coal and mineral-mining towns further up the river in Kazakhstan, as well as with the oil, natural gas and lumber operations of northern Siberia. Omsk is served by the Tsentralny Airport, which offers access to domestic and international (primarily, German and Kazakh) destinations, making the city an important aviation hub for Siberia and the Russian Far East.
The climate is dry and continental, characterized by dramatic swings of weather. Average daily temperatures, taken over the past three decades, are +20 °C (68 °F) for July and −17 °C (1 °F) for January, although temperatures can reach +40 °C (104 °F) in the summer and drop to −45 °C (−49 °F) in the winter. On average, Omsk sees over 300 sunny days a year. The average annual precipitation is 415 millimeters.
The architectural centerpiece of the city is an ensemble of buildings along Lyubinsky Avenue/Lenina Street, anchored by the former Gostiny Dvor, and flanked by two chapels. The area is an eclectic mix of architectural styles, dominated by Art-Nouveau, Neoclassical and Second Empire.
Closer to the confluence of the Om and the Irtysh are the few surviving sombre buildings of the 18th-century fortress. The largest and most opulent church in the city is the Dormition Cathedral, a five-domed edifice in the Russian Revival style, consecrated in 1896, demolished by the Soviets, and restored in the early first decade of the 21st century.
Another area of interest is Nikolsky Avenue-Krasnykh Zor Street, 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.