Perm (Russian: Пермь) is a large industrial city situated on the Kama river banks, at the western foothills of the Ural Mountain range. The city was founded in 1723 by Vasily Tatishchev, who was sent by Peter I to exploit the vast amounts of ores found in the region. The city was named Molotov (Мо́лотов), after Vyacheslav Molotov, the minister of foreign affairs under Jozef Stalin.
During Soviet times, Perm was a closed city to foreigners as well as to non-residents to a great extent. After the fall of the Communist regime in 1991, Perm rapidly modernised, causing an increasing demand for public transportation in and out of the city.
Perm has an international airport called Bolshoe Savino (IATA: PEE; ICAO: USPP), maintaining international flights from Frankfurt (with Lufthansa) and several CIS capitals such as Dushanbe and Yerevan. Bolshoe Savino airport is the hub of Perm Airlines . Perm Airlines, Aeroflot, SkyExpress, AviaNova and S7 Airlines to Moscow (5-6 times per day to Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports), St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Surgut, Sochi (Adler) and Samara. In summer, charter flights are operated to Dubai, Munich, Tashkent and several destinations of the Turkish riviera.
Perm's second regional airport Bakharevka now mainly serves as a helicopter airport.
Perm-II station is an important junction on the Trans Siberian Railway and therefore very well served by train. There are many daily trains to Moscow, among which Perm's brand train called "Kama", as well as other major Russian cities.
Although Perm lies on the "Siberian Trakt", the main motorway from Moscow to Siberia, its roads are no different from most of Russia's road network — of poor quality.
The central bus station of Perm, located on Shosse Kosmonavtov opposite the central market, mostly serves destinations in the province. Furthermore there are daily connections with Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Izhevsk and Chelyabinsk.
Perm is accessible through its Kama river port. Passenger transportation limits to recreational cruises to Chaikovsky, Kazan, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Volgograd. Cruise companies tend to sell return tickets only.
Getting around in Perm is not very easy for non-locals. Distances tend to be great given the fact that the city stretches along the Kama river. Getting from from one end to the other often requires changing buses and/or trams multiple times. Tram costs 12 RUB and bus 12 RUB, regardless the number of stops. Changing bus or tram, however, requires buying a new ticket. Tickets are sold by conductors only. The city, although spaciously built, is increasingly coping with heavy traffic, especially its vast centre.
However, Perm has a well-developed bus and tram network serving the whole city including its most distant suburbs such as Gaiva and Kur'ya.
Perm airport Bolshoe Savino is served by bus 35. Public transport works from 05:30am until 12:30am.
Although an industrial city, Perm has some places worth visiting.
The Museum of Arts, located at the crossing of Komsomolsky Prospekt and Ordzhonikidze Street is one of the largest in Russia.
The 18th century Perm-I train station is worth seeing, although it needs a lick of paint. The Motovilikha open-air museum located at the Square of 1905 (north of the centre) boasts an impressive collection of warfare made in the city's Motovilikha factories. There, you are looking at tanks, scud launchers and ballistic missiles.
The world famous Opera and Ballet Theatre "Chaikovsky" offers high-standard opera and ballet events.
In summer, entertainment is best found at the Kama Boulevard. With dozens of party tents and (live) music, it is a popular place for all ages.
In February, the annual Snow, Ice and Fire Festival is a must-see. The festival boasts an international ice and snow sculpture competition with teams from all over the world competing. It takes place mainly in Park Gorkogo, located halfway Komsomolsky Prospekt.
The Perm province, called Prikamye, is known to offer the best of the Ural Mountains. It has more karst rocks, rivers, caves and nature reserves than any other region in the Urals, apart from the polar Ural Mountain area. River rafting is extremely popular. Other favourite outdoor activities are fishing and hiking. For those, staying too short to leave the city, it is well worth to attend a sports game of local favourites:
Hockey club "Molot Prikamye" ("the hammer of Prikamye"), playing in Russia's second ice hockey league after degradation in 2007. Molot Prikamye plays home games in the "Molot" stadium, located in Motovilikha area. Although football is gaining popularity, ice hockey remains Russia's number 1 sport.
Basketball team "Ural Great", who are among the best teams of Russia since 2002. They also play at the "Molot" stadium.
Football team "Amkar". Amkar plays in Russia's premier league, although their stadium "Zvezda" does not give this impression as it is very small. Nevertheless, Zvezda stadium boasts a good atmosphere. Tickets are usually sold at the stadium on the morning of match day. Tickets are sold to anybody who is prepared to conquer the long queues at the ticket office. Zvezda stadium is situated in Kuybisheva street, not far from Komsomol Square.
With the city quickly developing, new shopping malls appear everywhere. Definitely worth seeing is the always crowded Central Bazaar, with uncountable kiosks and market stands, as well as huge market halls. The bazaar is located opposite the central bus station, at the very beginning of Kosmonavtov avenue. Perm also has a Chinese market, with mostly clothing being sold.
There are a number of suitable hotels in the centre.
Hotel Amaks Premier (ОтельАмакс), . (formerly "Turist") on Ordzhonikidze street is a good choice for leisure and business tourists. This mid-sized hotel was completely renovated in 2006-2007. The staff speaks a number of foreign languages, including English, Italian and French. The Kama boulevard, central shopping street Komsomolsky Prospekt and the "Chaikovsky" Opera & Ballet Theater are on walking distance. The hotel has a large bar/restaurant with a very affordable a la carte menu next to its modern bowling facilities. Small swimming pool with sauna/banya in the basement.
Hotel Ural (ОтельУрал), 58, Lenin street, ☎ +7-(342)-218-62-20 (email@example.com, fax: +7-(342)-236-34-54), . It's Perm's largest hotel. Apart from a wide choice of room classes, the hotel offers a wide range of facilities. Although parts of the hotel were thoroughly renovated, it still has a grey Soviet look.
Next to hotel Ural lies the Prikamye Hotel (ОтельПрикамье). Although the hotel is quite large, it offers very little facilities.
New Star Hotel (НоваяЗвезда), ул. Газеты «Звезда», 38-Б (east from the railstation Perm II), ☎ +7-(342)-220-68-01 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . , (opened 2006) is a more upscale hotel. Prices are also upscale. The hotel stands on Gazety Zvezda Street. Since the building is among the tallest in the area, the top floors offer panoramic views over Perm's skyline.Double room: from 4300 rubles (2009).
The Gabriel Hotel (ГабриэльОтель), . , which stands on Kirova street is also a very nice place to stay. Everything is taken care of!
There is some nice and small mini-hotels, for example Astor Hotel, 40, Petropavlovskaya St., Perm, 614045, ☎ +7 (342) 212–2–212 (email@example.com), . , on Petropavlovskaya street in the center (new name of Kommunisticheskaya street), which claims to be the first 3 stars certificated hotel in Perm.
Zhemchuzhina Hotel Complex (Жемчужина), ул. Бульвар Гагарина, 65-А, ☎ +7-(342)-261-90-91 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . , (“the Pearl” — in translation), opened at the beginning of 2008 is a more upscale hotel. Prices are also upscale. Central location of the hotel as well as its proximity to the highways makes it possible to get to any point of the city. The hotel stands on Gagarina Blvd. 65a. It is the 10-storeyed hotel building .Standard Premium room: from 3500 rubles (2009).
For world-class stay, although not located in the center but close from a big shopping and entertainment center, the city also hosts a Hilton, 45 B Mira Street, Perm, Russian Federation 614022, ☎ +7-342-227 67 87. .
Visitors have very little to worry about in Perm when sticking to common sense. Pickpocketing is common in the crowded public transport and in the Central and Chinese Bazars. Occasional drunkards may be somewhat annoying but rarely pose any menace. It is wise to stay out of city parks during the night time, particularly the huge Balatovo Park. Reckless drivers are probably the biggest threat regarding safety.
See the KungurIce Caves, about 60 km southeast of Perm.
Khokhlovka is a museum of wooden architecture, 30 minutes driving from the center of Perm.
The Gulag Museum at Perm-36, village Kutchino, Tchusovskoi region, ☎ +7-919-492-5756, . 10AM-5PM. 100 km north-east of the Perm city, the prison camp Perm-36 was closed in 1988, and later turned into the only genuine Gulag museum in Russia. There is a small cinema and a few exhibitions describing life in the high security area and in the special treament area.