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Introduction to virtual tour of Omsk
The reasons you should visit Omsk ( may be first in form of a virtual tour) being, as we presume, a true friend of Siberia are:

1.To see most beautiful Church in all Siberia where the Banner of Ermak was kept. When you stand near this church you understand why some people call Omsk 'St.Petersburg of Siberia'.
2.To see a building where may be most romantic love story in Russian history between Admiral Kolchak and Mrs. Temiryova took place.
3. To see the Governor's palace from where under the Tsar huge territory from the Arctic ocean to the Xinjiang deserts in present-day China was managed and where the old good Russian imperial banner used to be hoisted ( the honor given at the time only to Moscow, St.Petersburg, Tiflis, Helsingfors and Omsk ).
4. To see the building where the Gold reserve of Russia was kept only to disappear some time later in the flames of the Civil war.
5. To see the Guard's house( the oldest stone building of the fortress) where the Siberian regionalists used to sip their beer behind bars discussing the strange and thrilling idea of separating Siberia from mainland Russia and creation of the United States of Siberia!

Translation by Vova Sushko

Just where, when and how Omsk was founded
The spit the place where Omsk was founded.

Omsk was founded in 1716, just a few years after Saint-Petersburg. However what differs it from the northern capital of our country is that its foundation wasnt planned so minutely and was actually accidental. All the Russian towns in Siberia at that time were situated in the north so as to escape attacks of the nomads. The governor of Siberia, prince Gagarin, who lived in Tobolsk, understood that without forcing out the nomads it was impossible to further the economical and cultural development of the region. By that time Peter the Great defeated Swedes at Baltic and prince Gagarin thought that it was high time to draw his attention to the problems of expanding his empire in an easternby direction. Pursuing this object he sent a man to Saint-Petersburg, who ostensibly gave to the emperor a snuff-box containing not tobacco but some gold dust from the upper reaches of Irtysh. This man apologized and explained that it was easier to find gold than tobacco in Siberia. No wonder that Peter became interested his treasury had been seriously drained by the war. Soon a troop of 3 000 people was sent from Tobolsk to Siberia. At that time it was a powerful military unit. It was headed by a Russian colonel of German origin, Ivan Buchholz, who knew the emperor personally. Using boats they made a trip of almost 400 kilometers up-stream to the salt lakes Yamyshevskie. But the nomads were still too strong and having suffered heavy casualties Buchholz had to retreat in northern direction. Taking into account that his troops were exhausted, he decided to stop near the junction of Irtysh and Om and founded a fortress there. So began the history of Omsk
Now this place bears the name of Buchholz square. In the middle of it is a big metal sphere, symbolizing the development of Siberia. On its sides pictures represent different episodes from the history of Omsk. Not futher than 200 meters away from this monument the old brass cannon protects the river. This place is very popular among just married couples for taking photos because presumably Buchholz landed right here. A splendid river-boat station and the hotel Mayak, a favorite place with foreign tourists arriving in Omsk, are situated on Buchholz square.

Kolchak in Omsk
Kolchaks house

The Batushkins mansion a memorial of history and architecture. Its situated in the centre of Omsk at the bank of Irtysh river, near the hotel Tourist. It was built in 1901-02 for a merchant Batushkin.
The mansion hosted the ministry of supply and provisions of the Temporary All-Russian government (minister Serebrynnikov). This is also the house where the famous admiral Kolchak lived during his stay in Omsk 15th of December, 1918 12th of November, 1919. Many very important events in the life of Kolchak are connected with this place. His proclamation that he was the Ruler of Russia, gaining of the Tsars gold, his last love, his last hope and his last defeat
Presently, this building is used as a marriage ceremony centre of Kuibyshevsky district of Omsk city.

Wooden Omsk
Kondraty Belovs museum

Chohan Valikhanov street is rich in old beautiful buildings but the most outstanding of them is that of Kondraty Belovs museum. Before the revolution of 1917 probably the most prominent industrialist of Omsk Stumpf lived here. Now it is a monument of wooden architecture. But apart from the architecture, this house contains a good collection of the works of one of the best Siberian painters Kondraty Belov. He used to work in this house and this place still retains an echo of his presence here. In the evenings the museum turns into a musical - poetical drawing-room.

The Cossak military church
The Cossack Nikolsky Cathedral

The most eminent cult building of Omsk. Here the banner of Ermak, legendary pioneer of Siberia and the first Russian to start its exploration on a grand scale, was kept. Unfortunately the banner disappeared when Kolchaks troops were leaving the city. However, the communists didnt blow it up but instead used it at first as a warehouse and then an organ hall. During the 90-es the building was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church. The cathedral is surrounded by a small but pretty park.

Military school
Omsk Military School

The Military School is right in front of the Cathedral. After its restoration in the autumn of 2003 it looks splendid. This building, also designed in the classic style, turned out many very famous military men such as general Kornilov, general Karbyshev and others. Here Kolchak had his most faithful supporters among the cadets. With the rest of Kolchaks troops the school moved to Vladivostok, Shanghai and Yugoslavia, where it was finally abolished. And still in Paris cemeteries there are graves with the symbol A-1 which means that the deceased graduated from the Omsk Military School of Alexander the First. The revival of the school is connected with the governor of Omsk region, Leonid Polezhaev, who managed to restore it and returned to the school its former building.

The governor's palace
Governor-general palace.

This marvelous building is also very interesting from a historical point of view. Built in 1862 on the request of Governor General Gasford, it was prepared to accommodate the emperor of Russia in case he arrived in Omsk. Many very famous people visited the palace traveler Prezhevalsky, zoologist Brem and even Nikolay the Second was here before his coronation. After the revolution of Februrary 1917, the palace was claimed to be a property of the state and renamed as The house of Republic. The Council of workers and soldiers delegates as well as the so-called cheka (political police of communist government) worked here. In 1918-1919 as the communist were pushed out from the city, the Temporary All-Russian government and Supreme Ruler of Russia Kolchak worked here. In 1924 the building was given to the museum of local lore, history and economy.

nother remarkable place
Hillock Iliinskaya

From the Palace of the Governor General passing through a square you can reach the place where the Iliinskaya Church stood. After the revolution it was blown up and replaced by a monument of Lenin. Unlike many other sculptures of Lenin, this one doesnt point the way of communism but stands as if thinking What have we done!. Behind the monument there is a chapel put here in the hope that some day the church will be rebuild. What is interesting that it took only 6 hours to build this chapel!

May be one of the most beautiful chapels
Chapel Serafimo-Alekseevskaya

Passing the bridge near the Iliinskaya chapel you approach one of the main symbols of Omsk chapel Serafimo-Alekseevskaya built on the occasion of birth of crown prince Alexiy, the son of the last Russian emperor Nikolay the Second. It was one of the first victims of the Bolsheviks war on the church and one of the first chapels to be restored at the beginning of 90s. You may cross the street towards Oktyabrskaya hotel (former name Hotel Rossiya) and visit cafe Solo for a cup of coffee and a rest. Next to Solo there is the Omsk Organ Hall. The acoustics in this building are great and you can often hear concerts by famous Omsk and Russian performers here including the golden voice of Omsk Svetlana Borodina. After the cafe if you follow this street to the first junction and then turn right you will find a small corner of old Omsk!

We like him!
Plumber Stepan

Following Karl Liebknecht street and admiring the old buildings which used to be the base of many foreign representatives in Omsk you will suddenly see a plumber looking at you from the sewer well. This is a monument to all people who work in the city to make life comfortable for us and whose work we often tend not to mention. Very soon after this sculpture was installed it was given the nickname Stepan.

And we adore her!
Lyuba. Lyubochka, Lyubasha.

Across the Lyubinsky avenue Stepan constantly watches a young lady sitting on a bench. There is a belief that if a visitor wants to return to Omsk one day, he should sit on a bench with this young lady for a while. Her story is a sad and touching one. Once upon a time in Omsk there lived an old German Governor General. And he married a young and beautiful Siberian girl Lyuba. But soon their happiness was over. Lyuba caught consumption and would often sit on a bench warming herself in the sun. So she still sits there and people walking on Lyubinsky avenue sometimes have their photoes taken with her or even bring her flowers. And everyone addresses her in his own endearing way Lyuba, Lyubochka, Lyubasha.

Fine arts
The Vrubel Museum of Fine Arts

On your way to the museum you will approach a chapel on a hill. Take a look around, you are in one of the most beautiful streets of Omsk. Across the road there is the building of the former womens school - our answer to St. Peters Smolny Institute. The present building of the Vrubel Museum of Fine Arts was built in 1914 as a trading center. And still it is possible to see Mercury the god of trade on the facade.
Omsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts in the name of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel was founded in 1924 when a picture gallery was opened as a part of West Siberian Local Museum. In 1940 it became an independant museum of fine arts. Since 1996 the museum bears the name of Vrubel, a great Russian painter who was born in Omsk in 1856. This is the only museum in the eastern part of Russia which holds the works by this master.
Nowadays the museum holds the biggest collection in Siberia. It includes about 22 000 items, among which are:
The works of Western Europeen painters Tenirs, Lampy, Grez; icons of Russian masters dating from XVII to XX century; the works of Russian painters representing different trends of art Aivazovsky, Repin, Surikov, Levitan, Serov, Goncharov, Konchalovsky, Mashkov, Mamontov e.t.c. The collections of gold articles dating to skif-sarmat epoque are also of a great interest as they are rare to see in Siberian museums.
The museum occupies 2 buildings the palace of the Governor General palace (1859-1862, built by Vagner) and the City Trading Centre (1911 -1914, built by Kryachkov) which was given to the museum in 1996. Before the revolution, there was a restaurant with its own orchestra in this building. That is why its good acoustics are used for different concerts.

Where people meet each other to see something great
Omsk Drama Theatre

One can hardly recall the year when guest actors troupes came to Omsk first. It is known that in May 1874 a new wooden construction that housed the theater was erected. It was the cradle of the Omsk Drama Theater.

On September 24th, 1905, in Market square there was erected a new construction of the town theater from the design by Illiodor Khvorinov. That day Evgeni Dolin, impresario, showed "The Inspector General" by Gogol to the audience. The previous years and the years that followed there worked impresarios who made a great contribution to establishing and developing the Omsk Theater.
The history of the Omsk Drama Theater is rich in events and creative individualities. Several generations of wonderful actors and directors worked on the Omsk stage.

Omsk Drama theatre is probably the most beautiful building of the city and its no wonder that the citizens of Omsk take pride in it. If you want to visit it youd better book tickets in advance! Its also the 4th oldest theatre of Russia after Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and Yaroslavl. The theatres company is also worth mentioning as it is often nominated in different theatre festivals. On the right from the theatre is a very interesting sculpture of Dostoevsky. Taking Lenin street you can walk from the theatre to the Pioneers Square, where you will trace today no more pioneers at all, but instead a huge construction site of a Dome which had been destroyed by young pioneers's parents in the 30-ies last century!

The very heart of Omsk
Pioneers square

It is always very pleasant to a quiet green nook find in the center of a big modern city where you can rest in the shadow of magnificent trees or cool yourself near a fountain. In 2003 the sculpture of marathon runner was installed here symbolizing one of the most important events in sporting life of Omsk the Annual Siberian International Marathon (SIM) which attracts thousands of participants from all parts of Russia and other countries. At the end of August the city organizes Flora an exhibition of flowers, vegetables and fruits and this event covers the square in most vivid colours of fresh flowers and plants. Near the square there are the buildings of the Regional Parliament, Regional Government.

Standing on the corner watching all the girls passing by
Pushkin Library

If you stop near the library and take a look around you will immediately understand why citizens of Omsk are sure that the most beautiful women in the world live here in Omsk. The most female universities of Omsk the pedagogical and technological - are not far from this place. And the building of the library is also very beautiful, in the beginning of 90s it received a prize from prominent Swiss organization for splendid design.

Tsar's gold
A riddle to the present day

At the beginning of WW I Russia possessed one of the biggest gold reserves in the world. It amounted to 1337.9 tons by the year 1915. As the Civil War began in Russia the gold reserve was moved to Omsk, proclaimed the capital of Russia in 1918-1919.
Admiral Kolchak was proclaimed the Ruler of Russia. He took the tsar gold under strict control. The entire value of golden jewelry and gold ingots, which turned to be at Kolchak administration disposal, was 651532117 roubles. In November Kolchak and his government had to leave Omsk and set off for Irkutsk. Retreating, they managed to take tsar gold with them though the danger to be encircled was real and there was consternation and confusion among the soldiers.
Still in Omsk to see is the bank were the gold was kept!

Tara and Tobolsk gates
Tara Gate

This gate used to be the north gate of the city and its fortress. In 1959 it was destroyed but soon in 1991 it was restored. You can go through it to the remains of the old fortress.

The Tobolsk Gate

It is the only gate remaining from the foundation of Omsk. Near this gate there are several of the buildings of the old fortress. At the moment they are in rather miserable condition but soon they will be restored.

This damn terrible war
Monument of Mother and World War II Museum
On the territory of the old fortress you can find the Museum of the Second World War. The collections of this museum represent different periods of this war and trace the destines of Omsk citizens who took part in this war. In the yard of the museum there are many cannons, tanks and self-propelled guns that the Soviet army used in that war. Even the famous missile launcher Katyusha is represented in collection. In front of the museum stands a statue of a simple Siberian woman who lost all her seven sons during this war. However this monument is devoted not only to her but also to all other Russian women who lost their nearest and dearest during this awful war.

Dostoevsky and Lutheran church
Dostoevsky Museum

The Dostoevsky museum does not have such a rich collection as the one in Saint-Petersburg but here you can feel the real spirit of Dostoevsky. Omsk is a place where the writer experienced an abyss of despair, of moral and physical sufferings. His road to fame started here. The museum building was created in 1799 as a house of commandant for the fortress. Commandant De Grave did his best to help the writer in his exile and he received him many times at home. Later Dostoevsky said that in De Graves family he was treated like equal.

Lutheran Church

Since the day of its foundation Omsk has been a place where different religions co-exist in peace. Orthodox Russians, Muslims, Jews and Catholics has no need to argue on religious grounds. Thats why in 1792 on the territory of the fortress a very beautiful Lutheran church has been built. At the moment this building is occupied by the militia museum .

The sounds of organ
The organ hall was opened in the building of The Cossack Nikolsky Cathedral in 1983. This helped to prevent this building from destruction. The famous Czech company Riger Closs made an instrument consisting of 3700 pipes which was called Opus 504. There are no more than 50 organs in Russia and Omsk organ is regarded as one of the best among them. Many very famous musicians performed in Omsk organ hall Harry Grotberg, Oleg Yanchenko, soloists Dmitry Khvorostovsky, Maria Bieshu.
However in 1990 it was decided to return the building to the Russian Orthodox Church and it was clear that the traditional Catholic musical instrument cannot remain in the Orthodox cathedral.
So in 1998 the organ was dismantled and all pipes were put in specially-made boxes and transported to the building of the former Khudozhestvennyi cinema. Here, the specialists assembled and tuned. About 6 tons of broken glass items were put in the walls to improve accoustics. The experts of Riger Closs company praised the condition and the quality of Omsk organ after its journey to a new hall.
The transfer of an organ from one hall to another is an unique operation never done before or after this. Organs compose an unity with halls, moreover, they are designed specially for these halls, and its the case with Omsk organ.
The second birth of Omsk organ took place during the celebrations of the 286th anniversary of Omsk city, on July 30, 2002.
The experts say that the organ sounds as well as it did in its former building. The organ sounds the best when the echo of its sound lasts for about 3 seconds and Omsk organ corresponds perfectly to this demand. The information about the wonderful transfer of Omsk organ quickly spread over the Internet. People all over the world got intrested and expressed the desire to listen to this wonder. And now everyone is welcome to enter the incredible world of organ music.

Another beautiful building
The building of court establishments is situated in the centre of the city, near Bankovsky lane and Alekseeva street (former Sobornaya square). It was built according to the academician Prusakovs project. The construction began in 1916 (at the same time the monument to the tsar Alexander the III, who undertook the judicial reform, was laid nearby) and lasted for 3 years. The building was supposed to host different legal institutes but it was hardly ever used for that. Only in 1919 the Ministry of Justice of the Temporary All-Russian government and the Senat worked here. During the Soviet era it was used by Siberian Revolutionary Commitee (the Supreme govermental body in Siberia) and other Soviet and communistic institutions. Presently this is the building of the Regional parliament.

Do you speak Tibetian?
The building of the Guardhouse is a memorial of history and architecture. The construction started in 1781 in the northern part of a parade-ground of the second Omsk fortress, near from the Voskresensky dome (nowadays street Partizanskaya, 14). It took 4 years to build the Guardhouse. Its premises hosted the administration of the fortress, guardroom and rooms for those soldiers who misbehaved. The first educational institute of Omsk Omsk Asian School which trained interpreters of Tatar, Manzhu and Tibetian languages for communication with Asian peoples was situated at the 2nd floor of this building in 1789-1804. In 1804 the school was moved to the building of military gymnasia. Afterwards the Guardhouse was used to keep state prisoners. As one of prisoners recollects it was the only liberal guardhouse in Russia... Cells were locked only in the beginning of our sentence there, later they were open all day and locked only during the night. There were occasions that my friends would leave stealthly to visit someone in the city or just to have a beer.
This is the oldest remaining stone building of Omsk and one of the best examples of late baroque epoque in Siberia.
It is currently occupied by the Regional military registration and enlistment office.

The Iron City
When back from Paris, what is to be recalled to mind? Sure. Eiffel Tower and Louvre! And what about the Foggy Albion's Capital? With no doubt, Big Ben! Similarly, it's the same with any of the world's cities or towns. So what will one recall having visited our Siberian city? There is no other city in the present-day world, but ours what more and more new sculptures of avant-garde cause. Amongst those, there are no monuments to pensive poets and writers or church golden domes, yet it's precisely what citizens and visitors do love, and what proceeded from Lubochka and sanitary technician Stepan.

Now one can see the ever courageous, romantic, odd, and dreamy don Cijot on Rosinant's back rushing past the Theatre for Children and Young People. And what the great Balance of Being is eager to do is to equalize the strength of the everlasting opponents - Good vs. Evil, Riches vs. Poorness, and Liberty vs. Captivity. While taking a stroll alongside Chapaev Street, one can even see the real fish+ on land! It's like it's just come up from the deep and is feeling all right in the sun. A cheery raven in trainers lives at one of the trees Mayakovsky Street. It looks as though it were asking for advice where to go to - to London or Amsterdam. Furthermore, a golden fairy-tale book opened up by the biggest bookshop in Lenin Street. Why tale? Just look at what's on her pages: there are not only letters on it, but also the wise Cat and the Izbushka on hen's feet. Besides, there sat something at the Puppet-show. What's that? Nobody knows. Maybe, you do?

There are such sculptures not only outdoors, but also in- what's OK. You ask why? It's simple: people are just smiling at them. So just smile!

Text, translation and picture by Helene Fadeeva, Omsk

The Tarskaya Church
It also survived Soviet times!

The Cathedral of the Exalation of the Cross (Crossvosdvizhensky) situated in Tarskaya Street has existed for 130 years. The edifice signifies a great interest of the architects of the second half of tne 19th century to historical styles. The silhouette of the domes and church-tower makes one recall the shapes of the Baroque structures. This impression is more intensified when the Cathedral in recent times was restored with gold.
It's a pity that the work done was not good - the gold-layer peels of!
But the church is sure to see new restoration activity very soon.