Sights of Perm and Perm Krai
With a story that began on the banks of the magnificent Kama River in 1723, Perm can boast of a multifaceted and enigmatic history.
An important economic and cultural center of Russia Empire, “Gateway to the Gulag” and to Siberia, a source of inspiration for distinguished Russian authors such as Chekhov and Pasternak, one of centers of Soviet military industry, Perm is a city with a strong personality, a dynamic artistic spirit and boundless optimism for the future.
Wander through its historic center among parks and broad boulevards, discover the grand mansions of the 19th-century merchants painted in pastel colors and a giant open-air museum of sculpture, filled with charming creations. Enjoy a magical evening in the Perm opera, explore art treasures in its wonderful museums and enjoy a drink at one of the open-air bars at the waterfront with a view on the incoming tourist boats.
In the past few years, a grand masterplan has been realized to turn Perm into one of the most modern and dynamic cultural cities of Europe. The creation of avant-garde art spaces and the addition of new cultural objects for the performing arts convince the correctness of the chosen path.
Perm is the city in the upcountry of Russia spreading along the both banks of the Kama river. In the near past the city was closed for visitors because of its military industry. Nowadays Perm being one of the largest cities in the Ural region opens its history, its unique culture and its hospitable people to any interested guest.
A city sightseeing tour will allow you to touch the past and get to know the present of Perm. Historical center of the city and old Motovilikha, the oldest part of Perm will instantly reconstruct the images of city foundation and its fast development as a large industrial and trading center of the Ural region.
Artillery museum located under the open sky will reveal the history of armory. Here you can find the samples of products from different periods: ancient cannons, modern artillery systems, multiple launch rocket system, whaling guns, etc.
Walking down the streets, you will realize that Perm is a theatrical city. The residents are especially proud of the Perm Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after P. Chaikovaskiy. Our theater has a reputation of a cradle of contemporary Russian opera. The scene of the theater became the platform on which the ballet “Mecca” was staged. It is the third case in the country after Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The information that last period of a Paleozoic era, i.e., the Perm period, has received its name from Perm province, will be new to Perm visitors. That is how the word “Perm” appeared in a geochronological scale, being the unique Russian name among such like standards. If you go on any sightseeing excursion, then you will be able to attend the place where Roderick Murchison, a world known Scottish explorer was standing. It was he, who noticed these ancient deposits and named them Perm.
Central streets, squares, museums and historic landmarks, theatres and university buildings will very well inform the visitors about the city and its life. These buildings have witnessed different events. They reflect the fortunes and stories of many outstanding people.
Nikolay Slavyanov, the inventor, who in 1888 introduced arc welding with consumable metal electrodes and received a gold medal with the formulation “For the produced technical revolution” at the world electrotechnical exhibition in 1893 in Chicago. Alexandr Popov, the inventor of radio. Sergey Dyagilev, a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, from which many famous dancers and choreographers would arise. Boris Pasternak, a Soviet Russian poet, novelist and literary translator. Viktor Astafiev, a prominent Soviet and Russian writer. Lives of these people are tightly connected with our city and Perm is proud of them. Unfortunately, Perm has become one of the sites in the series of tragic events connected with murdering the Romanovs dynasty. The tour guide will tell you about the last days of grand duke Mikhail Romanov in Perm.
Here you will find 13 museums, including the Perm State Art Gallery with its world-famous collection of Perm wood sculpture, four state theatres, and more than modern 10 cinemas. The Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (PERMM) is well known beyond the city limits. The gallery displays works of Russian and foreign artists of all styles including painting, graphic art, video, and performance art.
City of Ballet Tradition
Perm Ballet School was established during the World War II, when a troupe from the renowned Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theatre and the staff of the country’s oldest choreographic school in Leningrad were evacuated here. World-famous performers and tutors worked at the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre for over 3 years. In summer of 1944, a ballet studio was opened in the capital of Prikamye (region around the Kama River). This studio later became the Perm Choreographic School. Its graduates go on to work on the stages of the leading theatres of Russia and around the world.
Followers of different confessions live in Perm. There are over 30 Orthodox churches and chapels, a Catholic church, a mosque, two synagogues, communities and centers of other religious confessions.
Perm can boast many municipal and entertainment parks, attractions, and leisure centres. The Garden of Eden Park is one of the most picturesque leisure spots with many bridges, arches, benches, and carved fences. The center of the park is decorated with a magnificent rotunda with 8 columns. This rotunda is a frequent venue for concerts. Those who enjoy an adrenaline rush will be thrilled by the virtual pre-historic 3D aquarium, a labyrinth of 8 video screens that broadcast movies about sea life from about 200 million years ago. The effect of actually being is created with special equipment. Note the show is not recommended for people of a sensitive disposition.
Perm Opera and Ballet Theater
The largest theater of the city is next to the Theater Square. A remarkable building is a monument of the 19th century, an example of Russian neoclassicism (1874-1879). The Perm Theater was founded in 1870 and is one of the oldest and most impressive musical theaters in Russia.
The Perm Opera and Ballet Theater named after P.I. Tchaikovsky, is considered as one of the most powerful opera theaters in Russia outside the capitals, famous throughout the world for the quality of its products, which makes Perm as the third leading Mecca of ballet after Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Now the theater is very active and toured extensively, mainly abroad, where is well known as the Tchaikovsky Ballet and the Tchaikovsky Theater. Perm Opera and Ballet Theater is the winner of many theatrical awards, including the winner of ten awards of the national contest “Golden Mask”.
Today the repertoire of the theater is composed of world-famous masterpieces of opera and ballet art as well as undeservedly forgotten musical works, many of which were first staged in Russia in the Perm Opera and Ballet Theater.
The Perm Theater initiated the creation of the Diaghilev Festival dedicated to the work of the famous impresario Sergei Diaghilev, who grew up, as it is known, in Perm.</p.
The repertoire of the theater includes staging all the works of P.I. Tchaikovsky (including the most famous ones such as “The Nutcracker” and “Swan Lake”), operas “Boris Godunov”, “Traviata”, “Don Juan”, “The Barber of Seville” and “Madame Butterfly”, ballets “Giselle”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “Fool”. In addition to classics, there are many modern ballets and operas. Artists and fans of the theater very much like assembled programs from short one-act ballets or separate parts of operas, modern choreography, new forms and other innovations.
The second scene of the theater, designed by the famous British architect David Chipperfield, will be opened in the near future.
Address: Petropavlovskaya St., 25, Perm, www.permopera.ru
Perm State Art Gallery
Perm State Art Gallery is one of Russia’s largest museums with over 40,000 works of art from all over the world. The gallery’s showpiece is the invaluable collection of wooden cult sculptures, the Perm Gods, dating to the 17th-18th century. The gallery is housed in the former Cathedral of the Transfiguration (Spaso-Preobrazhensky) dating to the 18th century, an architectural and spiritual symbol of the city.
Address: Komsomolskiy prospect 4, Perm, www.permartmuseum.com
Kungur Ice Cave
Kungur is an old merchant town. Its favourable geographical location made it an important trade and craft center in the middle of XVIII century. Many buildings dating back to that time remained unspoiled. Merchant mansions and numerous churches may be the examples. It is not surprising because Kungur is the reserve town. A “must visit” sight in Kungur is its ice cave. It is a true pearl of nature that is sixth large in the world among gypseous karst caves. The total length of all explored paths is over 5 km. According to scientists, the age of the cave is 10-12 thousand years. The Kungur Ice Cave is the only cave in Russia well arranged for tourists trips. The length of the excursion pass is about 1,5 km. Visitors are always impressed by magnificent ice crystals, huge stalagmites, columns and sinter ice. Numerous underground lakes joining waters of the Sylva River make this cave especially attractive.
Address: nearby city Kungur, http://kungurcave.ru/
Belogorsky St. Nikolaevsky Monastery located about 70 km to the South of Perm and 40 km to the west from Kungur, on Belaya Gora (White Mountain), is a sacred place of the orthodox Ural region and is located on the picturesque ridged of the Urals. The magnificent beauty and grandeur of the White mountain was often compared with the landscapes of St.Athon and belogorskye monks often resembled athons, thus the monastery was honoured to get the name Ural Athon. The monastery was founded in 1890 and aimed at missionary activity in settlements populated with Tatars, Muslims and Old-Believers. Erecting the grand Krestovozdvizhensky Cathedral marked the highest prosperity of the cloister. After the October revolution, the monastery was closed. Later it was used as a juvie and psycho-neurological asylum. It was not until 1990 when the monastery resumed its religious activity. Restoration works started in Krestovozdvizhensky Cathedral and monastic services were resumed. There is still a lot that must be done in the monastery but despite this, the White mountain attracts thousands of tourists and grants them a unique opportunity to get to know the history of cloister, attend refectory and try real monastery food, taste water taken from wonder-working spring and enjoy the breathtaking panorama of Kungur forest-steppe. As “Permskie eparkhialnie vedomosti” paper said in 1909, “… When you watch this miracle of the western Urals, you can’t utter a word. It takes you a while to come to your senses and start focus on details…”.
Address: village Kalinino, Kungur District, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belogorsky_Monastery
“Khokhlovka” Architectural and Ethnographic Museum
Our visitors are sure to enjoy and remember this place for long. Khokhlovka is probably one of the most interesting and doubtlessly the most beautiful museums of the Perm Krai. It is located on the high picturesque cape surrounded by the waters of the Kama reservoir. Dwellings and outhouses dating back to the XVII-XX centuries were brought here from all over Perm Krai and were duly reconstructed. These include the Church of Transfiguration, watchtower of the Torgovishchensky jail, varnichny yard of Ust-Borovskoy salt-making factory, windmill, fire depot, tent bell tower, bath houses, barns, etc. The culture and everyday life of the peasants is reflected in Russian and Komi-Perm homesteads dating back to the XIX century. Getting inside the dwellings and seeing the tableware, clothes, instruments of labour and furniture will draw up a picture of Kama Territory people’s everyday life. The special appeal of the museum is a hunting camp, i.e., a log hut surrounded with store rooms allocated on high posts and with a hearth called “nodia” situated in the reserved area of the Ural taiga. Attending “Khokhlovka” wooden architecture museum leaves a lasting impression on visitors due to both its monuments of architecture and genuine Ural ethnic landscape attractive at any season.
Address: Khokhlovka village, Perm, www.museum.perm.ru/filiali/muzey-khohlovka
Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (PERMM)
PERMM is the first and so far the only state museum of contemporary art in Russia outside the two capitals. Perm Museum of Contemporary Art housed in a former tram depot, is an art gallery in Perm that officially opened in spring 2009. It presents art of the Russian and international avant-garde and holds changing exhibitions, festivals, artist talks, lectures, workshops, concerts and performances. The gallery is renowned for its “Russia Povera” permanent exhibition and its championing of artistic innovation. In 2010, the Financial Times praised PERMM as “one of the most spectacular galleries of modern art in Russia.”
Perm State Art Gallery and Perm Krai Museum are located close to each other and form a museum complex.
Address: Gagarina Boulevard 24, Perm, www.permm.ru
Diaghilev Memorial Museum
A magnificent example of classicist architecture (1852), the family villa of the legendary Russian theatre impresario Sergei Diaghilev was for decades the centre of artistic and social life in Perm. Today it functions as a secondary school, museum, and cultural venue. The pupils and teachers at the school give tours of the private apartments of the Diaghilev family and the winter garden.
Address: Sibirskaya St., 33, Perm.
The territory of the esplanade in Perm (undeveloped, open space, wide street with avenues) is located along Petropavlovskaya street and Lenin street. The Perm city esplanade hosts the main city holidays such as the festival “White Nights”, City Day. Here in the summer there is a small town with amusements, in the winter there is an ice rink, ice figures and slides that are built every winter. In the warmer months, bicycle rental is also available here.
In 1985, the main city fountain nicknamed popularly by “the long-suffering”, was opened here. And in 2015 a new fountain with the name “Theatral” appeared. At its opening, songs of the war years, accompanied by the singing of jets and the play of light, were heard.
Next to the esplanade there is the building of the Legislative Assembly of Perm Krai, before which the original art object “Power” appeared. It consists of six large concrete letters in the form of benches, which constitute the word “power.” In its appearance, this installation should remind officials of their true purpose, i.e., serving the people.</p.
On the esplanade there is the Alley of Valor and Glory divided into three thematic parts. On the first avenue, Historical, there are plates dedicated to major city dates. The second one carries plates bearing the names of famous residents of Perm, and the third contains immortalized names of city factories and factories. One of the first plates of memory was dedicated to the founder of the city, Vasily Tatishchev. By tradition, the laying of new plates and stars is held on the City Day on June 12.
Embankment of the Kama River
The embankment of the Kama River is one of the main decorations of Perm. Recently renovated, in the afternoon it is filled with young mummies with strollers, and in the evening lovers come here to admire the reflection of stars in unhurried river water.
“Happiness is just around the corner”. Everyone who comes to walk on the embankment will be convinced of this. It is here, where the art object “Happiness” is installed. The inscription, by the way, managed to appear in a movie. It can be seen in the movie “The Geographer Drunk Globe” and in the series “Real Guys”.
A large bronze statue of a funny old man appeared on the Kama embankment after reconstruction. His name is country little man Lukhyan. A kindly smile, a shirt in patches, a bag of rock salt and extra large ears. He is a typical Permian (Permyak, a citizen of Perm Territory, Prikam’e) – “salty ears”. There was even a true sign: if you whisper a desire in the salty ear of Lukhyan, then it will certainly be fulfilled.
The rotunda on the embankment became the third city rotunda. On the site of the observation platform near the Cathedral Square, there was already a wooden rotunda, which was demolished in the 1920s. The current rotunda on the embankment is located just below, at the descent to the river. This rotunda is no longer wooden but made of concrete under “granite”.
Address: Kama Embankment, Monastery St., 2, building 1.
Monument to Permyak-Salted Ears
Monument Permyak-Salted Ears (Permyak is a citizen of Perm Territory, the region around the Kama River) is the most famous landmark of the Urals. Genre urban sculpture consists of two parts including the figure of a photographer and a round frame with big ears near it. It is in this frame that you need to substitute your face and take a picture, of course, on a real camera. It is not surprising that monument Permyak-Salted Ears are most often found on magnets and postcards dedicated to the city.
A few years ago, the magazine Russkiy Mir called this sculpture as the strangest monument in Russia.
Nickname “Permyak-Salted Ears” entrenched for workers who were carrying large bags of salt on their shoulders. Bags touched the ears, which experienced an allergic reaction from the constant contact with salt, that is, they became large and red.
The Legend of the Perm Bear
“The Legend of the Perm Bear” (“Walking Bear”) is a sculpture in Perm depicting a walking bear, the symbol represeted on the coat of arms of the city.
According to the authors of the project, the idea of the monument is connected with an image of foreigners that “bears must walk the streets of the Urals cities”. The sculpture is located in the central part of the city, on Lenin St., in front of the Organ concert hall of the Perm Krai Philharmonic Society and near the building of the Legislative Assembly of Perm Krai. The author of the monument is the sculptor and monumentalist from Nizhny Tagil, Vladimir Pavlenko. The monument is made of artificial stone and covers an area of about 3.5 m2. The weight of the bear is 2.5 tons, the base of the monument is 1 ton.
The powerful energy of the stone, from which the sculpture is made, can be felt by everyone. It is only necessary to touch the bear. Only just appeared, Mikhailo Potapyich (usial name of a bear in Russian fairy tales) immediately became an incredibly popular person. Children and adults are already photographed in an embrace with a bear and riding it. A six-year-old Oksana deciding to buy a bear cub, put a chocolate candy on his head. Such is the national love!
Since the appearance of a club-footed person in the center of Perm, the townspeople have come to believe that if a person rubs a nose on the bronze bear, then luck awaits him, and the visitor of the city will necessarily return to our lands.
Address: 58, Lenin st., Perm (in front of Hotel Ural).
“Perm Gate” and “The Garden of Stones’
“Perm Gate” is an art project of Nikolai Polissky. It was created in 2011 and located at the central railway station of Perm, Perm II, in the park of the 250th anniversary of Perm (“The Garden of Stones”).
Four facades of the “Perm Gate” or “Monument to the letter P” in the form of the Cyrillic letter “P” (“П”) are addressed to all parts of the world. This structure consists of twined together fir trees with a height of 12 meters. It turned out a kind of triumphal arch, on the construction of which took 5200 logs. The child of the land-art of the artist Nikolai Polissky evokes the most controversial reviews, and the vandals even tried to set fire to the object. However, the basis of the work lies in the history of the Perm Territory: more recently, business wood was rafted along the Kama River. So Polissky decided to capture the traditional work of woodcutters in the composition. In addition, at nights, “Perm Gate” is highlighted with the help of a special installation. This is a very curious and beautiful spectacle.
“The Garden of Stones” is a beautiful place for walking in front of the main railway station of the Perm Region and a tram ring. The park is an open area on which there are stone rocks from various parts of the Perm Krai. Unfortunately, the tablets on the stones have not survived to this day.
In the park there were installed more than 50 samples of rocks with a description of each breed. When it was refined, new shops were set up and trees planted. During the “cultural revolution”, it was decided to place new art objects into the park. Wooden “П” and a beetle of scarabs were placed here. Also, two fountains and granite polished balls were installed in “The Garden of Stones” in 2010.
Address: 225a, Ekaterininskaya st., Perm.