Perm is the most Eastern city of Europe, and therefore its province is often
referred to as Eurasia. Having a population of 1.2 million, 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 65kms 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 June, 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 history of Russia. Not the least part of this role was played by Ermak,
who was from the Perm Province. Ermak, by order of the Stroganov family, gathered
an army here and led it through the Urals, later to succesfully conquer Siberia
for Russia. Afterwards, 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 peasant or miners'
towns by that time.
Nowadays, 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 towards it.
Nowadays, Perm is obviously accessible to all. Actually, it currently is one
of Russia's fastest growing cities because of its economical prosperity.
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 Perm’s 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 and Moscow, 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 Tchaikovsky
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 world’s 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
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 1800’s.
All cannons 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.
(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, Perm’s
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 the provincial towns surrounding Perm, such as Kungur, Solikamsk, Usolye
and Osa, architectural highlights are dominated by mansions and factories which
were built by the Stroganovs and Demidovs in the 17th century. In similar style,
a large number of remarkable churches and cathedrals can be found throughout
the Perm Province.
In spite of Perm being a relatively unknown city, the city and its region
brought forward many famous people. Ballet impressario Sergei Dyaghilev was
born in Perm and spent early years of his life here. 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 20th 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 Russia’s premier league in 2003) and “Molot-Prikamiye”
(see club logo on the right) ice hockey matches take place frequently.
But undoubtly the most exciting matches are performed by the city’s
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 NBA’ers 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, cafés 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 6:30am and stop at 21pm. All the
other transport starts at 5:30am and goes until 0:30am. 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
Events in Perm
Perm's main and most interesting annual event is probably the Ice Sculpture Festival,
which is held in winter. Ice "artists" from all over the world come
to put their ice fantasies in practise in the Gorkovo Park in the centre of
Perm, turning the park into a proper ice village.
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
Celebrations throughout the city often take place on Russian national holidays:
January 1st, New Year
January 7th, Orthodox Christmas
February 23rd, Day of Defender of Motherland (fireworks)
March 8th, Women's Day
May 1st, Spring and Labour Day
May 9th, Victory Day (military parades in city centre)
June 12th, Independence Day and birthday Perm city!(huge fireworks
November 4th, National Accord 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 city map
A map of Perm city centre, as well as a province map, you'll find
on a seperate page. Click here for 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.