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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 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 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:
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.
For world-class stay, althrough not located in the center, the city also hosts a Hilton hotel.
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.