Happy birthday, city of Omsk!

С Днем Рождения, любимый город! (Happy birthday, dear city!)

Lenin Street, Omsk.

Omsk State Transport University (OSTU) is one of the oldest educational institutions in Siberia and serves to train Trans Siberian Railway managers and engineers. Tsentralny Airport (Russian: Аэропорт Центральный (IATA: OMS, ICAO: UNOO) is the main airport in the region.

Arrival of Prime Minister Medvedev in Omsk.

By Russian standards, Omsk is still a baby at just 296 years old. Nonetheless Omsk is an important part of the Russian Federation and has a great history to share with her citizens. For our student readers Omsk is spelled the same way in English and Cyrillic Russian, Омск, O-m-s-k.

Omsk girl with Russian flag.

East of the towering Ural mountains, Omsk is the second largest city in Siberia with over a million population. It is both the seat of the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Omsk & Tara and the spiritual center of Muslims in Siberia, home to the Imam of Siberia.

Omsk church surrounded by apartments.

Omsk is the junction point of the northern and southern branches of the Trans Siberian Railway, where the north-flowing Irtysh meets the Om River.

Prime Minister Medvedev is again in the region and Monday took the advantage of chairing a meeting on railway tariffs policy while riding the train from Omsk to Tomsk during his working visit to Siberia. The Prime Minister told his staff that “The railway pricing policy should be planned for a long-term period, which is something everyone is interested in: the railways, industry, the regions and all Russians as the end beneficiaries”.

Prime Minister Medvedev conducts meeting on a train.

Famous Omsk residents have included writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky and the anti-Bolshevik “Supreme Ruler of Russia” Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak, commander of the anti-Soviet White Army who chose Omsk as his base and “capital of Russia” in 1918–1919. The wife of one of our favourite photographers, Ilya Varlamov, is from Omsk.

Omsk is home to several Universities along with a symphony, ballet and theatre.

Today, Omsk is Russia’s seventh largest city and at the breakup of the Soviet Union the region was included in the Russian Federation. The independence of  the Republic of Kazakhstan gave Omsk an international border to the south.

Omsk day, 296 years in 2012.

Omsk was chosen as the site of a fortress by Peter the Great during a expedition of the region. A wood fortress was established in 1716 and by they 1850s Omsk had grown to become the capital of Western Siberia. While the official birthday is 1716, the Russian history of Omsk can be said to begin with the 1584 arrival of a Cossack force which defeated local rulers and established nominal Russian control of the area.

Old house in Omsk, Russia.

Older style houses demonstrate what Omsk and Siberia was like for centuries before industrialization. Unfortunately, these houses are not yet protected as cultural heritage sites and officials sometimes seem eager to have them removed in favour of modern and taller buildings. Sadly, many of these treasures may be lost forever.