Perm Krai covers 160,600 square kilometers (62,000 square miles), is home to about 2.6 million people and has a population density of only 16 people per square kilometer. About 75 percent of the population live in urban areas. The city of Perm is the capital and largest city, with about 1.1 million people, about 40 percent of the population of the krai. A krai is an administrative territory of Russia that dates back to tsarist times. Perm Krai overlaps with Prikamye, a Russian term used to describe the region near the Kama River in the west of the Ural Mountains. Websites: Travel portal of Perm Region: /

Stretching from the north to south along the Kama River, the main and most scenic tributary of the Volga, Perm Krai is located in the east of the East European Plain and the western slope of the Middle Ural Mountains. A total of 99.8 percent of it is in Europe, 0.2 percent % in Asia. The krai borders the Komi Republic in the north, Kirov Oblast in the northwest, the Udmurt Republic in the southwest, the Republic of Bashkortostan in the south, and Sverdlovsk Oblast in the east. Its length from north to south is 645 kilometers (401 miles); from west to east, 417.5 kilometers (259.4 miles) The highest point is Mount Tulymsky Kamen at 1,496 meters (4,908 ft).

Perm is famous for its wooden sculpture, also known as "wooden gods". They were produced by indigenous people to honor their spirits and god. Even when they converted to Orthodox Christianity they kept the practice alive. These wooden gods can be seen in museumsm particularly the open-air Khokhlovka wooden architecture. The Ural Mountains provides the region with some natural attractions such as cliffs, rocks and rivers, many of which have legends attached to them.

Winters here are snowy, with typical air temperatures from –10 to –25 degrees C., with readings of –30 degrees not uncommon. February is marked by particularly strong winds. In the summer, the temperatures ranges from 15 to 25 degrees C. The fall is relatively warm and mostly dry. In spring, you can go rafting or fishing in rivers and lakes in Prikamye. This forest region abounds with game, and special reserves equipped with everything necessary have been set aside for hunters. You can also the salt empire of the Stroganov dynasty in Solikamsk and Usolye. In the winter, you can visit the ski centers or attend a ski jumping tournament. Local food include traditional shangas or miniature fried meat pies called “posikunchiks.”

Getting There: By Plane: From Moscow to Perm, the flight lasts 2–2.5 hours and costs from RUB 9,000; from St. Petersburg flights start at RUB 13,000 (direct round-trip flight for one adult passenger). By Train: The Trans-Siberian Railway passes through Perm. You can reach Perm from Moscow in 20 hours (from RUB 6,000) or from St. Petersburg in one day (from RUB 10,000) (round-trip sleeper ticket for one adult passenger). By Car: The distance from Moscow to Perm is 1,400 kilometers (19 hours); from St. Petersburg, 2,000 kilometers (one day). By Bus: From Perm bus station you can get buses to almost anywhere in Prikamye: Berezniki: RUB 381; Solikamsk: RUB 572; Kudymkar. You can also reach Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan and other major cities by bus.

Perm City

Perm City (kilometer 1433 on the Trans-Siberian Railway) is a former closed city with a famous gulag and a large military-industrial complex. Founded in the early 18th century around a copper-smelting works and located on the Kama River in the southern foothills of the Urals, it is regarded as a gateway to the Urals and Siberia and was named Molotov between 1940 and 1957. Today, Perm is a center of steel and iron production. Its factories produce transformers, mining equipment, electronic equipment and high voltage wire.

Perm is located in the old Perman area, which was originally inhabited by Finno-Ugric peoples. Perm was first mentioned as the village of Yagoshikha in 1647. The history of the modern city of Perm starts with the development of the Ural region by Peter the Great who established Perm and Yekaterinburg, both in the Urals, to be early industrial cities. the Russian During the Russian Civil War, Perm became a prime target for both sides because of its military munitions factories. In December 1918, the city fell to the Siberian White Army. In July 1919, it was retaken by the Red Army.

In the 1930s, Perm grew as a major industrial city with aviation, shipbuilding, and chemical factories built during that period. During World War II, the city was a vital center of artillery production in the Soviet Union. During the Cold War, Perm became a closed city presumablt because of its military industries and camps. No foreigners were allowed to enter the city and it is said Perm didn’t appear on Soviet maps. Foreign visitors were not allowed in until the 1990s. Accommodation: The main hotels are the 3-4-star Ural Hotel and the 3-star Prikamye. They are located in the very center of the city and start at RUB 2,700 a night.

Perm City Sights

Sights in Perm include an art gallery inside a former cathedral, with a fine collection of 17th and 18th century animist wooden sculptures kept in the forest; an ethnographic museum, aquarium, church and mosque. The Old Town contains charming wooden houses that belonged to workers and brick houses that belonged to merchants,

Boris Pasternak lived and wrote Dr. Zhivago in a blue house on ulitsa Lenina near the corner of Golgova. The town Yuryation in the novel is really Perm. The Tchaikovsky Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet and the Drama Theater are regarded as first rate. They host a full calendar of events. Ferries operate on the Kama river. You can walk along the Kama River to the “Happiness is just around the corner” art installation. Perm Gates is an art object by the famous Russian artist Nicholas Polissky installed near the Perm Railway Station, in the "Garden of Stones". in June 2011. It is in the form of bulk letters "P" and symbolically oriented to the four cardinal points. Wood used as a material refers to the traditional culture Kama region. The height of the "Gate" - 12 meters.

Tower of Death is a modest Stalinist style office building built in 1949-1953. Designed by the architect MA the main building of the Molotov University, it has been called "Tower of Death" even though it was constructed at the end of the Stalinist era because people associated it with the period of the "Great Terror" and its architecture reminded people of the Stalinist skyscrapers in Moscow. There are stories that building contained six cellars, where prisoners were tortured, and a tower, off which prisoners were thrown, that was connected by underground passages to the prison and the old Yegoshikha Cemetery.

Perm Gods (in the Perm Art Gallery, 4 Komsomolsky Avenue) is a unique exhibition of wooden sculptures from the 17th-20th centuries is located. The collection consists of more than a hundred sculpture carved from pine and linden. Six wooden figures of Christ sitting in humble poses are especially popular. Faces of the Saviours express humility and sacrifice. Each image is concise, expressive and full of character. Visits are free on the third Wednesday of every month. Other days tickets for adults are RUB 150. Children can attend the exhibition for free.

Near Perm

Near Perm are fine forests and rivers and many nice places to go hiking, cross-country skiing, cave-exploring, hunting fishing, canoeing and white rating. Travel agencies in Perm sponsor a variety of trips. Kungur (80 kilometers southeast of Perm) is one of the oldest towns in the Urals. Founded in 1649 and home to 80,000 people, it is located in a natural bowl and features an old church and regional museum. Also nearby is White Mountain Monastery, which was used as a mental hospital in the Soviet era

Reindeer Outpost ((150 kilometers from Perm) is a deer farm with wellness treatments that combine centuries of experience and modern pantotherapy techniques. Visitors can not only take antler baths, but also try venison dishes. There are about 1,000 red deer on the farm. There are excursions on offer. A ticket for an adult costs RUB 800, and a ticket for a child costs RUB 600. Address: 16-b Nizhne-Konechnaya street, Belyaevka village, Okhansky District Getting There: from Perm bus station by the Perm-Belyaevka bus (2 hours 45 minutes), or by car from Perm a little less than two hours). Accommodation: : in a family studio cottage, a luxury cottage or cosy rooms start at RUB 3,450 per day.


Perm-36 (100 kilometers east of Perm, about 10 kilometers from the town of Chusovoy) is one of the last labor camp to be closed (1990). Among the famous Soviet dissidents to be imprisoned here were Anatoly Shranasky, Vladimir Bukosky and Yuri Orlov. Perm 36 has been transformed into a memorial like Buchenwald and Auschwitz. Visitors can visit guard towers, rooms where beatings and torture were carried out and “shizos,” nine-foot-cube, wire-covered punishment cells

Officially called, The Perm-36 Memorial Complex for Political Purges, it is the only facility of its kind in the former Soviet Union and has been preserved in its original form. The camp was founded in the times of the GULAG and functioned as such until the 1980s. The camp held what were deemed especially dangerous state prisoners, including political prisoners held on charges such as “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” The camp ceased operations in 1988. Eight years later it was turned into a museum.

Perm-36 nominally consists of two parts: a high-security area with work and residential zones, and a maximum-security zone with prison barracks. Nineteen buildings in the complex are included in the list of regional cultural heritage sites. The residential barracks built in 1946 are a typical example of Stalin camp architecture. The production facilities of the camp were built in the 1940s-60s, and the bath and laundry facility is dated to 1946. The Perm-36 Memorial Complex is part of the International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience, formed by museums from dozens of countries around the world that have severed ties with their totalitarian past.

Khokhlovka Architectural and Ethnographic Museum

Khokhlovka Architectural and Ethnographic Museum (52 kilometers north of Perm) is an open-air museum with outstanding wooden buildings, including a farmstead with tools, a fires station with a horse drawn cart, a salt works and a bell tower that can be climbed for splendid views. The museum property covers an area of 43 hectares and consists of 23 sites built in the 17th-20th centuries, which represent the best examples of Prikamye architecture.

The Khokhlovka Museum is the first open-air architectural and ethnographic museum of wooden architecture to be established in the Urals. The project was launched in 1969 and opened as a museum in 1980. The Ust-Borovsky salt-making plant was brought to Khokhlovka from Solikamsk in order to illustrate the entire technological process of salt production, from pumping brine out of the salt pit to shipping. A ten-meter-tall brine lifting tower, a salt chest, salt oven, and salt storehouse were installed on the shores of the Kama river. For more than five centuries, salt extraction was one of the most important businesses of the region. For this reason, the residents of Perm used to be called “salty ears”.

The Komi-Permyak sector contains a half dozen country estates typical for the Kama area. Here you can find well-to-do peasant farms, as well as poor Komi-Permian log huts (izba), and hunters” winter huts. A bit further, is the North Kama sector, you can see examples of wooden-home architecture collected from around the area. The housing system of Yanidor village (the Cherdynskiy region) was typical for northern territories of Perm Krai and was taken as a model during the development of the sector. Along with the dwellings, here you can also find means of transportation once used by northern peoples — boats, barges, telegas, sleighs, and sleds.

In the South Kama sector, a special installation is the bell tower, brought from Syr village. The peaked hipped roof can be seen from afar. Together with Bogoroditskaya Church, dated from 1694 and brought from Tokhtarevo village, the bell tower is installed at the highest point of the museum's territory.

Every year, the Khokhlovka museum holds traditional public events and folk festivals: Maslenitsa (Pancake Week), Trinity celebrations, the Savior of the Apple Feast, folk music concerts, military history events, and art festivals.The ticket costs RUB 180. You can buy something to eat at outdoor concession stands. Getting There: : you can get there from Perm by bus 340 in 2 hours. In a car the 45 kilometers journey takes a little more than an hour. Accommodation: : In the stylized Hostelry in Khokhlovka opposite the entrance to the museum. Reservations are available at

Kungur Ice Cave

Kungur Ice Cave (five kilometers from of Kungur and 100 kilometers from Perm) is an ice cave with frozen waterfalls, underground lakes and unique karst formations. It is best seen in the winter when massive icicles form. One of the largest of its kind in the world., the cave is 5.7 kilometers long and has 48 grottoes and 70 lakes, as well as ice crystals and stalactites with fantastic lighting. Tourists can go on a tour of the cave and watch laser shows. Lovers can arrange a romantic date. If you are interested in mysticism, be sure to take part in excursions dedicated to the myths and legends of the cave.

Kungur Ice Cave reached the finals of the Seven Wonders of Russia contest. One thing that makes it interesting is combination of ice crystals and ice-like gypsum formation. It is one the five longest gypsum caves in and the only gypsum cave in the world with extensive glaciation. There are 146 so-called “organ pipes,” stalagmites, and stalactites of various sizes in the cave. There are also 48 grottoes, some with their own names: Diamond Grotto, Cross Grotto, Dante Grotto, Ruins Grotto, etc. The largest of them is the Geographer's Grotto, with a volume of 50,000 cubic meters.

In 2010, Kungur Ice Cave joined the International Show Caves Association. Interestingly, Kungur Cave is probably the first show cave in Russia. In the middle of the 19th century, nearby village residents showed the cave to interested people. And in 1914, A.T. Khlebnikov rented the cave from the local farming community, made arrangements for visitors, and developed routes. In other words, he started a professional tour guide agency. Khlebnikov himself became the first tour guide in Kungur Cave.

There are different show programs in the cave: Myths and Legends of the Ice Cave, sightseeing tours, New Year tours, and even an adventure tour, In Search of Ermak's Treasure. The ticket costs from RUB 500. Address: Kungursky District, Filippovka village. Getting There: from the Perm bus station take the Perm- Kungur bus (1 hour 25 minutes), and then from Kungur by bus No. 9 (half an hour). You can also get there in 1.5 hours by car from Perm Accommodation: : Roomsin the Stalagmite hotel near the cave start from RUB 2,500 a night.

Ural Mountains

Ural Mountains are the traditional dividing line between Europe and Asia and have been a crossroads of Russian history. Stretching from Kazakhstan to the fringes of the Arctic Kara Sea, the Urals lie almost exactly along the 60 degree meridian of longitude and extend for about 2,000 kilometers (1,300 miles) from north to south and varies in width from about 50 kilometers (30 miles) in the north and 160 kilometers (100 miles) the south. At kilometers 1777 on the Trans-Siberian Railway there is white obelisk with "Europe" carved in Russian on one side and "Asia" carved on the other.

The eastern side of the Urals contains a lot of granite and igneous rock. The western side is primarily sandstone and limestones. A number of precious stones can be found in the southern part of the Urals, including emeralds. malachite, tourmaline, jasper and aquamarines. The highest peaks are in the north. Mount Narodnaya is the highest of all but is only 1884 meters (6,184 feet) high. The northern Urals are covered in thick forests and home to relatively few people.

Like the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States, the Urals are very old mountains — with rocks and sediments that are hundreds of millions years old — that were one much taller than they are now and have been steadily eroded down over millions of years by weather and other natural processes to their current size. According to Encyclopedia Britannica: “The rock composition helps shape the topography: the high ranges and low, broad-topped ridges consist of quartzites, schists, and gabbro, all weather-resistant. Buttes are frequent, and there are north–south troughs of limestone, nearly all containing river valleys. Karst topography is highly developed on the western slopes of the Urals, with many caves, basins, and underground streams. The eastern slopes, on the other hand, have fewer karst formations; instead, rocky outliers rise above the flattened surfaces. Broad foothills, reduced to peneplain, adjoin the Central and Southern Urals on the east.

“The Urals date from the structural upheavals of the Hercynian orogeny (about 250 million years ago). About 280 million years ago there arose a high mountainous region, which was eroded to a peneplain. Alpine folding resulted in new mountains, the most marked upheaval being that of the Nether-Polar Urals...The western slope of the Urals is composed of middle Paleozoic sedimentary rocks (sandstones and limestones) that are about 350 million years old. In many places it descends in terraces to the Cis-Ural depression (west of the Urals), to which much of the eroded matter was carried during the late Paleozoic (about 300 million years ago). Found there are widespread karst (a starkly eroded limestone region) and gypsum, with large caverns and subterranean streams. On the eastern slope, volcanic layers alternate with sedimentary strata, all dating from middle Paleozoic times.”

Southern Urals

The southern Urals are characterized by grassy slopes and fertile valleys. The middle Urals are a rolling platform that barely rises above 300 meters (1,000 feet). This region is rich in minerals and has been heavily industrialized. This is where you can find Yekaterinburg (formally Sverdlovsk), the largest city in the Urals.

Most of the Southern Urals are is covered with forests, with 50 percent of that pine-woods, 44 percent birch woods, and the rest are deciduous aspen and alder forests. In the north, typical taiga forests are the norm. There are patches of herbal-poaceous steppes, northem sphagnous marshes and bushy steppes, light birch forests and shady riparian forests, tall-grass mountainous meadows, lowland ling marshes and stony placers with lichen stains. In some places there are no large areas of homogeneous forests, rather they are forests with numerous glades and meadows of different size.

In the Ilmensky Mountains Reserve in the Southern Urals, scientists counted 927 vascular plants (50 relicts, 23 endemic species), about 140 moss species, 483 algae species and 566 mushroom species. Among the species included into the Red Book of Russia are feather grass, downy-leaved feather grass, Zalessky feather grass, moccasin flower, ladies'-slipper, neottianthe cucullata, Baltic orchis, fen orchis, helmeted orchis, dark-winged orchis, Gelma sandwart, Krasheninnikov sandwart, Clare astragalus.

The fauna of the vertebrate animals in the Reserve includes 19 fish, 5 amphibian and 5 reptile. Among the 48 mammal species are elks, roe deer, boars, foxes, wolves, lynxes, badgers, common weasels, least weasels, forest ferrets, Siberian striped weasel, common marten, American mink. Squirrels, beavers, muskrats, hares, dibblers, moles, hedgehogs, voles are quite common, as well as chiropterans: pond bat, water bat, Brandt's bat, whiskered bat, northern bat, long-eared bat, parti-coloured bat, Nathusius' pipistrelle. The 174 bird bird species include white-tailed eagles, honey hawks, boreal owls, gnome owls, hawk owls, tawny owls, common scoters, cuckoos, wookcocks, common grouses, wood grouses, hazel grouses, common partridges, shrikes, goldenmountain thrushes, black- throated loons and others.

Chusovaya River

The Chusovaya River is a river in the Urals area that flows through in Perm Krai, Sverdlovsk Oblast and Chelyabinsk Oblast of Russia. A tributary of the Kama River, the largest tributary of the Volga River, it discharges into the Chusovskoy Cove of the Kamsky Reservoir. The river is remarkable in that it originates on the eastern slopes of the Ural Mountains in Asia, crosses the mountains, and mostly runs on their western slopes in Europe. The Chusovaya River is widely used as a source of water. Its water is taken from the 37-square-kilometer Volchikhinsky Reservoir and the Verkhneisetsky Reservoir, which supplies water to Yekaterinburg, and 15 smaller reservoirs are spread over about 150 tributaries of the river. [Source: Wikipedia]

The Chusovaya River is 592 kilometers long, of which 195 kilometers is in Perm krai. The source of the Chusovaya lies on the eastern slopes of the Ural ridge, in Asia, crosses the Urals and flows along the western slopes in the European part of Russia. Twice it crosses from Sverdlovsk region to Perm Krai. There are several hypotheses of Chusovaya word origin. According to the widest-spread version, the river name originates from the Komi-Permyak words “chu” meaning rapid and “va” meaning water, i.e. “chusva” meaning rapid water.

The Chusovaya has been a transportation artery for centuries. People appeared on the river’s banks thousands of years ago evidenced by archaeological finds of the camps, settlements, sites of ancient towns, burial grounds, and sanctuaries. The first documented mention of the river in the Russian chronicles is dated 1396. Before the arrival of the Russian people, the banks of the river Chusovaya were populated by Mansi (Voguls), Komi-Permians, and Bashkirs. There are numerous metal and coal mines along the Chusovaya, and the river was intensively used to deliver their production to the western Russia. The river was particularly important for transporting iron from Urals to steel mills. However, industrial navigation nearly halted with the development of railways in the early 20th century. Chusovoy is the major remaining port on the river.

Rafting and boating on Chusovaya River is done during the spring and summer. The most popular rafting routes include the visits to separate stones. Trips of about 40 kilometers long from the settlement Usr-Koiva to the town Chusovoy are available. The routes from the border of Perm Krai to the town Chusovoy — about 140 kilometers long — is also done but is less popular.

Stones on the Chusovaya River

The Chusovaya River is famous for its hundreds of large rocks — called boitsy — located along the shoreline which are the major tourist attraction of the area. Some rocks are danger to boats, especially during the spring thaw. Many of them have names and are protected by the state as natural monuments. The Robber, a rock outcrop on the right bank of the river, is 25 meters high is connected with the history of the mining in the Urals. The Four Brothers stones consist of four separate rocks standing at the distance of 15-40 meters from each other. The second and third stones are divided by a deeply incised valley of a brook. The maximal height of the stones is 70 meters from the water line.

Guselny Stone consists of the quartzitic conglomerates. The stone is about 100 meters long and the rock is about 30 meters high. It is shaped like a gusli, an ancient Russian musical instrument. Dyrovatye Rebra refers to five separately standing rocks of 60-70 meters high and 1.2 kilometers long. One of the rocks has a karstic arch, the remains of a cave entrance, and domes have collapsed. The karstic arch is situated at the height of 24 meters above the river Chusovaya level. Ponysh consists of two 20-meter-high rocks high situated in the mouth of the Ponysh river. The distance between the cliffs is about 100 meters. The Owl is a high rock with three caves. In one of these ceramics fragments with admixture of talc from the early Iron Age was found.

The Kladovoy Stone contains the largest cave of the Chusovaya river valley and one of the most frequently visited underground caves in Perm Krai. The entrance to the cave is situated at the height of 50 meters above the river. The cave is 512 meters long and comprised of a thick-layer Visean limestones. There are several grottoes and galleries in the cave; the cave domes are full of travertine forms. Plakun (Boyun) Stone is a sheer outcrop 60-80 meters high and about 300 meters long. There are numerous karstic topographic forms in the area, including caves, grottoes, cave-ins, karst bridge, and karstic arch.

Iblis is an outcrop of limestones up to 60 meters high. The rock is of historic and archaeological significance: the remains of very old animal bones and ceramics fragmentshave been found in the Iblis cave. The Deaf Stones are of 50 meters high. They are near numerous Karst formations, including Blue Lake, whose maximum depth is 56 meters. Semenkovsky is a biological natural monument. There is an eagle-owl's nest in a niche of nameless stone on the right bank of the river. Vashkur is a 30-meter-high limestone rock near 10th-11th century burial sites and caves where the bones of animals, birds, fish, and fragments of ceramics have been found. The Comb is a 50-meter-high rock that juts out a ridge into the river.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation (official Russia tourism website ), Russian government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.

Updated in September 2020

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