Omskaya region borders in the West and the North on Tyumenskaya region, in the East - with the Tomskaya and Novosibirskaya regions, in the South and the South-West - with Kazakhstan. Th e region occupies the area of 141,1 square km, approximately 1/15 of West Siberia. Omsayay region is located in the South of Western Siberian plain by the river Irtysh, which divides the region into left-bank and right-bank parts, crossing the territory of the region from the South to the North. The greatest height of the region is 150 m above sea level, its situated near the village Nagornoe.
The region has a moderately cold continental climate with long, severe winters and short summers. The average January temperature is about -20°C, and the average July temperature is +20°C.
The region extends 450-500 km from north to south, which leads to considerable variation in climatic conditions. Whereas the northern part of the region receives annual precipitation of 400-500 mm and is considered relatively moist, the arid southern part receives 300 mm or less. Other indicators change accordingly: average annual temperature varies from -1.1°C in the north to +0.4°C in the south; the frost-free period, from 90-100 days in the north to 115-120 days in the south, and the vegetation period, from 153 to 162 days.
All rivers belong to the basin of the Irtysh River, which flows through the region for more than 1000 km. The water content of the Irtysh at the city of Omsk based on average long-term discharge rates is equal to 865 m3/s. Its largest tributaries within the region are the Om and Tara rivers. The river network is sparse in the south and fairly dense in the north; the rivers are mainly snow-fed and have a pronounced spring runoff. Lakes in the south are mostly saline, while those in the north are generally fresh.
Most of the region's vegetation is characteristic of the steppe and forest steppe zones, except for the north, which is in the taiga forest subzone. Forests cover more than one-quarter of Omskaya Region, with the predominant species being pine, cedar, spruce, fir, birch, and aspen. In the southern part of the forest zone, mixed forest gives way to a belt of deciduous birch and aspen forests, which gradually changes southwards to the 'parkland' of the forest steppe zone. The most valuable game and fur animals of the forest zone are squirrels, Siberian weasel, ermine, fox, roe deer, moose, wolf, and bear. The fox, varying hare, and steppe polecat are typical inhabitants of the forest steppe, while the red-cheeked ground squirrel lives on the steppe. Large numbers of ducks and geese are summer residents of the lakes and old riverbeds. Black grouse, gray partridge, and wood grouse are encountered in the forest steppe and forest zones.
The region's 32 state museums have more than 240 000 unique exhibits, and 60 private museums have 100 000 exhibits. The Vrubel Regional Museum of Fine Arts in Omsk is one of the largest in Siberia and in Russia. Its collection includes more than 10 000 priceless works by Russian, Soviet, and foreign artists. Among its exhibits are a splendid collection of porcelain and paintings by Repin, Kramsky, Surikov, Levitan, Vasnetsov, Vrubel, and Rerikh. The regional historical museum founded in 1878 presents a broad picture of the culture and daily lives of the people of Siberia from Russian settlers and Siberian Tatars to Kazakh cattle herders.
Omsk has long been recognized as the theater capital of Siberia, and many of its actors have performed on Russia's best stages. The region has seven professional state theaters: the Galerka Drama and Comedy Theater, an academic drama theater, a musical theater, a theater for children and youth, a puppet theater, the Fifth Theater (Pyaty teater) state drama theater, and the L. Ermolaeva Studio drama theater. The academic drama theater was founded in 1947 and since then has won a reputation as one of Russia's best theaters. The puppet theater opened in 1936, and in 1992 was renamed the Harlequin (Arlekin) State Puppet, Actor, and Mask Theater. The best known amateur group in Omsk is the Lyceum (Litsei) Municipal Theater.
Architecture embodies the ideas of famous architects and artists in stone. The streets, houses, and squares of Omskaya Region, as well as books, will acquaint you with its rich history and culture from the time of Peter the Great and wooden fortified towns to modern buildings. Today, there are 1727 historical and architectural monuments in Omskaya Region. One of them is the architectural ensemble known as Lyubinsky Avenue (Prospekt) in Omsk. The buildings date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and are unique for their size, style, and importance to the city's development. The large buildings of the Moscow Merchant Row (1904) and the Rossiya Hotel with its restaurant (1906) were built on the west side of Lyubinsky Prospekt. A movie theater, the trading houses of the Ovsyannikov brothers and A. Ganshin and Sons, and V. Morozov's store appeared later. Despite different architectural styles ranging from classicism to modern, the buildings form a single whole with a surprising unity and preserve the silhouette of old pre-Revolutionary Omsk. After Lyubinsky Prospekt was completed, the foreign press spoke of Omsk as the 'Chicago of Siberia'.
Nikolsky Cathedral (1840) is a unique 19th-century structure where Ermak's banner is preserved. The original wooden Tobolsk Gate was rebuilt out of brick in 1792. One of the finest 18th-century architectural monuments in Omsk is the Lutheran Church built for foreign Protestants. Spassky Cathedral in the city of Tara is a monument of late 18th-century church architecture and the only religious building in Omsk constructed in the Siberian Baroque style. The Military Assembly building in Omsk is the last important building of the second Omsk fortress. One of the oldest remaining buildings in the fortress of the Guardhouse; it is one the finest examples of the baroque style in Siberia.
Another unique architectural monument is a group of four buildings dating from the 1910s. These are the Trading House of the firm Vogau and Co. the building of the Salamander Society the building of the Tver Manufactory, and the building of the Triangle Association. Each individual building is unique in itself, and together they form an urban neoclassical architectural ensemble united by a single style that is rare in Siberia. The Palace of the Governor-General of Western Siberia (1862) is called a palace because of its size and splendor.
Omsk city is an administrative and cultural center of Omskaya region. Omsk was founded in 1716 as a fortress at the junction point of channels of the Irtysh and the Om rivers by Colonel Ivan Bookhgoltz, this historic fact initiated developing of Omsk - one of the oldest cities in Siberia.
At the second part of the 18th century the fortress became the largest fortification at the East of the country. Construction of Trans - Siberian railway boosted the development of the city. Railway connected Omsk with European part of Russia and its East regions. Omsk turned out to be in a very favorable position being at the crossing of trade ways.
Omsk is a multinational City. It is inhabited by Russians, Germans, Ukrainians, Tatars, Kazakhs, Belorussians, Bashkeers, Jewry and other nations, altogether – about 80 nationalities.
At present time more than 20 centers of national culture are functioning, regenerating its national traditions. Religious unions of 50 confessions are acting too.
Omsk universities are well known for its high level and standard of education in different brunches of knowledge: medicine, transport, agriculture, jurisprudence, economy, business, pedagogics, natural sciences, phylology, history, culture and arts. Students from other cities and countries study at Omsk universities. 8 000 people are dealing with scientific researches.
Theatres of Omsk are well known in Russia as well as abroad. They represent different genres of dramatic art: there are 5 drama theatres (Academy Drama theatre, Drama and Comedy Theatre “Gallery”, “The Fifth Theatre”, Theatre for Youth and Children, Theatre “Studio”, “Theatre Lyceum”, Music Theatre, the Puppet Show “Harlequin”).
Theatres of Omsk have been taking part in national and international festivals and gave performances on a tour, and won prestigious drama awards such as: premium “Golden Mask”, award in the content “The Best Provincial Theatre of Russia” etc. Theatres from Japan, Germany, USA, Italy, Israel and former soviet republics played on tour in Omsk.