A short intro...
Perm is the most Eastern city of Europe,
and therefore its province is often referred to as Eurasia.
Having a population of 991,500, Perm is the 6th largest city
in Russia and the second largest in the Urals. The city was
formerly called Molotov, after the minister of foreign affairs
during Joseph Stalin's ruling. Perm stretches 65 kms along
the impressive Kama River - Europe's 4th largest river by
length. The Perm province, "Permskaya Oblast", or
"Prikamye", is around two-third the size of the
United Kingdom and covers a great area in the very heart of
the Ural Mountains.
Perm is internationally known as the name for the geological
period (290 - 245 million years ago) in which the
Ural Mountain Range was formed. In contrary to the Urals,
Perm itself is rather young. Although the first settlement
of Perm dates back to 16th century, officially it got its
city status in 1723. Citizens still loudly celebrate Perm's
birthday on 12th of July, with street parades, concerts and
fireworks throughout the whole city!
In spite of being a relatively young city,
Perm played an important role in the colonisation of Siberia.
Ermak, the conquerer of Siberia, was from the Perm province.
When a road was needed to connect Siberia with the west, construction
was started in Perm, which was at that time the capital of
the Ural region. The new road, together with the construction
of the Trans Siberian Railroad, allowed development of the
places east of the Urals - current big cities such as Ekaterinburg,
Omsk and Novosibirsk, were merely small peasant or miners
towns by that time.
Perm basically owes its existence to two factors: firstly
the large amounts of natural resources (minerals, oil and
timber) that are present in the region, and secondly (but
not less important): its location. The mighty Kama River,
the Great Trans Siberian Railroad and main motorways from
Moscow/Kazan to Siberia all cross in Perm, making Perm a main
Russian transportation hub. The city is the doorway from Europe
to Asia and to Siberia in particular.
During Soviet times, Perm was a proper fortress because of
the huge military industry in its region. All artillery and
rocket vehicles, as well as (intercontinental) ballistic rocket
launching systems, engines for MiG jetfighters and canons
of all ranges were (and in less proportions still are) produced
in Perm. The Soviets did an excellent job in hiding Perm and
keeping it secret. Most people from outside the Urals simply
did not know of the existence of the - at that time - 1 million
citizens of Perm. Until the end of the cold war, Perm did
not appear on certain Soviet-made maps, nor did the roads
Nowadays, Perm is obviously accessible to all. Actually, it
currently is one of Russia's fastest growing cities because
of its economical prosperity.
Perm - 101% Russian, yet multicultural
For Russian standards, Perm is one of
the most multicultural places in the whole country; it is
a home of many ethnic groups who have lived together in Perm
ever since its existence. While taking a walk through Perms
huge central bazaar one can easily distinguish Russians at
the many typical small kiosks, Georgians and Armenians selling
their original spicy kebabs and shoarmas straight from the
barbecue and Tatars operating from most of the simple but
colorful jewelry stands. Furthermore, Russian orthodox churches,
a mosque, a synagogue and several Catholic churches (some
dating from the 17th century) all exist next to each other
in Perm. The multicultural character of Perm also shows in
its dining possibilities; one does never have to go far to
experience the Russian, Uzbek, Georgian or Caucasian cuisine.
In spite of its multicultural character, Perm is Russian
till the bone. Wide avenues, big squares and parks,
many statues, dominant Soviet architecture, countless little
kiosks, huge theatres and trolley busses everywhere - all
make Perm as Russian as Russian can be. Being some 1400 kilometers
away from the big influential cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg,
Perm is a relaxed place, where people have kept the typical
Russian way of life and traditions.
Opera, ballet and drama theatre
After St. Petersburg, Perm is Russia's
leading city for opera, ballet and drama theatre. Not only
has the city got a wide range of stages and theatres, its
educational bodies like the Russian Academy of Theatre Art
and Institute for Culture and Art as well as its many international
relations in theatre performances and education still give
Perm the name of theatre city.
One of the most famous stages is the Chaikovsky Opera and
Ballet Theatre Perm. Among its repertoire are internationally
known performances (for example Romeo and Juliet, Cleopatra,
Aida, Cinderella) as well as Russian ones: most works of Berchadsky,
Dzerzhinsky and Chaikovsky have been staged here. Since 1948
the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre has been on tours throughout
the whole world, performing in countries such as UK, Japan,
New Zealand, Australia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Bulgaria,
Germany and China. During its history, the theatre has received
numerous (inter)national prizes.
Another leading stage is the Perm Academic Drama Theatre,
founded in 1927. Like the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, the
Acamedic Drama Theatre has staged the worlds most prestigious
Drama plays (for instance Ostrovsky, Shakespeare, Gorky and
Tolstoy) and has it won many prizes for its work.
The Perm Art Gallery boasts a large collection
of arts. Apart from numerous paintings of Flemish, French
and Italian masters, it also has modern art collections on
exhibition. The museum's collection is among the very largest
ones in Russia. The museum is located in a former cathedral,
now a landmark of Perm in the centre of the city.
In the same building, but a separate section, the Regional
Museum of Local Studies and History (founded in 1890) is definitely
worth a visit for those who are interested in the history
and the culture of the Urals. The museum boasts a wide variety
of armory, coinage, pottery, handicrafts, archeology and minerals.
It also tells about the Permian period, the geological era
in which the Urals were formed.
The partly open-air artillery museum at the northern end of
the city centre displays all generations of rocket and artillery
(vehicles), as constructed in Perm, as well as a wide range
of information of the history of the industry. Actually, the
city is known for its large war industry ever since late 1800s.
All canons and artillery of former Soviet Union as well as
engines for Tupolev and MiG aircrafts were (and in less amounts
still are) manufactured in Perm. The museum offers detailed
information on its wide range of warfare. The outside part
of the museum can be entered free of charge at any time. This
museum is a part of our city excursion.
Khokhlovka (Open-air museum of and Wooden Architecture
and Ethnography) is in fact a collection of original structures
as they existed in the 17th century. Inside the buildings,
all kinds of tools, handicrafts and clothes of that time are
exposed. The guide will take you around the museum, explaining
about the hard life 300 years ago. You will be amazed by the
beauty of the site; Khokhlovka is located on a green hill
and offers great views over the Kama river and nearby villages.
As for architecture, most profound buildings are situated
in the city centre. The heart of the city is very unlike what
one can expect from a city of over one million inhabitants.
It completely lacks the usual modern glass buildings and tall
skyscrapers that make up for most big cities centres.
In fact, Perms centre is mostly made up by colorful,
classic 3-storied mansions of Soviet architecture, making
the centre breath a rather relaxed and pleasant atmosphere.
Currently, many buildings in the centre are under renovation,
preserving this atmosphere for future times. Among the most
prominent buildings in the city are the centrally located
"Young people's theatre", the Feodalyevskaya Church
and the Dyagiliev Mansion. Furthermore, the Perm I train station
is worth a look, as it is proper ancient (17th century).
In spite of Perm being a relatively unknown city, the city
and its region brought forward many famous people. Russia's
greatest balerina ever, Anna Pavlova, was born in Perm. Her
mentor, ballet impressario Dyaghilev, made fame at young age
in Perm theatres. Later he became a sensation in Europe during
2 decades of his "Ballets Russes". Dyaghilev's former
mansion in the centre of Perm is now a museum. Tchaikovsky,
one of the greatest composers ever, was born in a small town
just south of Perm. Furthermore, Perm was home of Popov, the
inventor of radio, and of Boris Pasternak, who wrote Dr. Zhivago
here. The Stroganovs, the Demidovs and Tatishchevs in Perm
make up for Russia's famous industrials. Ballet impresario
Sergei Diaghilev wrote history when he produced the ballet
sensation "The Rites of Spring" in Paris in the
early years of the 19th century.
For those who are more into sports rather than theatre, Perm
has many possibilities. Especially in weekends, the offer
is large. Football games of Amkar (promoted to Russias
premier league in 2003) and Molot-Prikamiye ice hockey matches
take place frequently. But undoubtly the most exciting matches
are performed by the citys Ural Great basketball team.
Having recently been both the champion of Russia and of the
European Basketball Liga, the team is topping the national
as well as international competitions every year. Amongst
the team are former NBAers as well as elite players
from Russia, ensuring top-quality basketball every game. Click
here for all matches of Perm sports teams.
Shopping in Perm is an experience on its own. Like most other
cities in Russia, Perm has not got obvious Western-style shopping
streets, although the central Komsomolsky Prospekt
is steadily developing into one. New and modern stores are
appearing in and around this proper avenue at a fast rate,
among which mostly fashion, jewelry and dining places.
For daily needs, the huge central bazaar is the most popular
place. For any tourist, a visit to this site of countless
little stands, shops and kiosks simply cannot be missed. The
whole city comes together here, making the bazaar probably
the most vivid place in Perm. Fruits, vegetables, clothes,
cleaning products, tools, audio, sunglasses, kebabs, carpets,
almost ANYthing can be purchased here, and usually for very
little money too. The large building in the centre of the
bazaar is the place where all kinds of meat and milk products
are sold. For those looking for cheap clothing, the Chinese-Vietnamese
market is the place to go. Decent but cheap is the main subject
among the mainly Chinese trade-people at the market.
Furthermore, several smaller markets (rinoki)
can be found all over the city, mainly at the crossings of
major streets. A number of shopping malls serve those who
like to have everything in one building. The biggest one is
Univermag on the corner of Lenina and Komsomolsky
Prospekt. Just across the road are many bakeries, cafes and
kebab stands for a short break and a quick snack.
Perm has an extensive public transport system, operated by
busses, taxi busses, trolley busses and trams. They take you
to wherever you want to go in the city, even to far outskirts.
The standard fare for any means of public transport is 5 rubles,
to be paid to the conductor on entrance. Taxi busses start
around 6:30 am and stop at 21 pm. All the other transport
starts at 5:30 am and goes until 0:30 am. Taxis, naturally,
drive 24 hours.
If you do not know the city well, it might
be difficult for you to find your way through the complicated
public transport network. The best thing you can do is to
ask the hotel receptionists or your host family which bus
or tram number you need. Just remember the name of the stop
you departed from, so it will be easy for people to give you
directions back, just in case you are not sure which one to
take. It is also possible to buy a city transport map at any
paper/magazine kiosk, they cost around 2 euro.
Events in Perm
Events in form of sports and theatre take place nearly every
day, one shall not get bored! Most interesting performances
of ballet, drama and opera are staged at the Drama Theatre,
which is located on Lenina Street, at the central square.
The Perm Academic Theatre offers all kinds of famous plays,
both Russian and international, and has a full events calendar
every day of the month. Matches of Ural-Great (basketball)
and Molot Prikamye (ice hockey) both take place at the Molot
Stadium, which is loacated in the eastern part of Perm. Amkar
plays Russian premier league football in stadium "Zvezda",
which is in the city centre.
Celebrations throughout the city often take place on Russian
January 1st & 2nd, New Year
January 7th, Orthodox Christmas
February 23rd, Day of Defender of Motherland
March 8th, Women's Day
May 1st & 2nd, Spring and Labour Day
May 9th, Victory Day (military parades in city
June 12th, Independence Day and birthday
Perm city! (huge fireworks at midnight)
November 4th, National Accord Day
December 12th, Constitution Day
Furthermore, several occasional as well
as anual music, theatre, folklore and anniversary festivals
take place in Perm and its region. There is always something
to celebrate in Perm!
Perm Weather & Climate
Russia is renowned for its long and cold winters. In case
of Perm in particular, this is only partly true. Perm has
a temperate continental climate: winters are by far not as
harsh (average day temperature in January is -15C) when compared
to the more eastern parts of the country. Summers are usually
very sunny and warm, averagely +25C in July- and August day
times. During those months, many citizens can be found sunbathing
on the Kama beaches.