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Introducing Omsk

Spending a day in Omsk, 568km southeast of Tyumen, is the best way of breaking a Tobolsk-Tomsk or Tyumen-Novosibirsk train ride into two overnighters. Vast and sprawling, Omsk's industrial suburbs look off-putting but the gently attractive central core has some fine century-old architecture and is dotted with parks, museums, great restaurants and quirky public sculptures.

Starting life as a 1716 Cossack outpost, Omsk grew rapidly and by 1824 had replaced Tobolsk as the seat of Siberia's governor general. Exiled Dostoevsky nearly died from a flogging while jailed here from 1849 to 1853. During the civil war Omsk was briefly the seat of Admiral Kolchak's government until overrun by the Red Army in 1919.