1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Omsk

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OMSK, a town of Russia, capital of the province of Akmolinsk, capital of western Siberia from 1839 to 1882, and now capital of the general-governorship of the Steppes. Pop. (1881) 31,000, (1900) 53,050. It is the seat of administration of the Siberian Cossacks, and the see of the bishop of Omsk. Situated on the right bank of the Irtysh, at its confluence with the Om, at an altitude of 285 ft., and on the Siberian railway, 1862 m. via Chelyabinsk from Moscow, and 586 m. W.S.W. of Tomsk, it is the meeting-place of the highways to middle Russia, Orenburg and Turkestan. Steamers ply down the Irtysh and the Ob, and up the former to the Altai towns and Lake Zaisan. The climate is dry and relatively temperate, but marked by violent snow-storms and sand-storms. The average temperatures are, for the year, 31° F.; for January, 5°; for July, 68°; the annual rainfall is 12.4 in. The town is poorly built. Apart from the railway workshops, its industries are unimportant (steam sawmill, tanneries); but the trade, especially since the construction of the railway, is growing. There are two yearly fairs. Omsk has a society for education, which organizes schools, kindergartens, libraries and lectures for the people. There are a corps of cadets, medical, dramatic and musical societies, and the west Siberian section of the Russian Geographical Society, with a museum.

The “fort” of Omsk was erected in 1716 to protect the blockhouses on the Russian frontier, along the Ishim and the Irtysh. In consequence of the frequent incursions of the Kirghiz about the end of the 18th century, stronger earthworks were erected on the right bank of the Om; but these have now almost entirely disappeared.