Perm

Perm has one of the most user-friendly walking tours I’ve ever come across: The Green Line. It’s basically a green line that has been drawn directly on the pavement in the centre of town with 37 stops at different places of interest.

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At each stop, there’s a board with information in English and Russian. There’s also a QR code at each stop for more information online in Russian. I loved following this green line! No fuss with looking at maps all the time, or wondering whether you are lost. And the information was instantly accessible in English in a city where very few people speak any English at all. Kudos to the City of Perm!

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I looked at about half the stops yesterday afternoon and evening, and the other half this morning, so you can easily do the whole walking tour in a day. The green line included the three art museums I wanted to see in Perm as well, though one of them, the Perm State Art Gallery, was closed both yesterday and today.

I really liked the PERMM Museum of Contemporary Art. Actually, this museum was the main reason I included Perm as one of the stops on my Trans-Siberian rail journey. I’ve read that Perm is up and coming as the third force in Russian contemporary art, after St.Petersburg and Moscow, and I wanted to see this for myself. PERMM has high ambitions judging by the signs outside the entrance.

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The museum is housed in the old River Station Hall, with very high ceilings, and each exhibition has its own space partitioned off by what looked like huge wooden containers. It gave a very trendy and temporary feel to the museum.

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I liked a lot of what I saw. I particularly like this huge painting called “Field” by Timofei Dorofeyev.

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I also visited the Central Exhibition Hall, which was opened in 1976 and has a large number if exhibitions each year. I really liked some of the art I saw here, but I didn’t like being laughed at by some of the museum attendants when entering the museum and asking a question in English. They laughed loud and long, let me tell you. If the museum is meant for Russian speakers only, they ought to have a sign on the door. But maybe they did have a sign, and I missed it because it was in Russian only.

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Anyway, it’s very difficult to enjoy art when your laughed at, and I didn’t stay long.

I learned a lot about the city of Perm walking along the green line. With each stop, I got glimpses of the town’s history thorough the history linked to each building or place of interest. Stop 27 was the most beautiful one of the buildings I saw. This building was bought and reconstructed by the merchant “Tea and Sugar King” Sergey Gribushin in 1906. Apparently this building is a prototype of the “house with figures” in the novel Doctor Zhivago.

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This morning, I made a slight detour from the green line to include some churches and a mosque. The church Svesto Troiyskaya (I apologise for the spelling; the church name was repeated to me several times and this was the best I could do) had a beautiful exterior and was stunningly beautiful inside. There were other buildings adjacent to the church and my impression was that this was a small monastery.

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The mosque was also attractive and this time I was allowed to take pictures inside, though the interior was was quite basic.

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The receptionist at Globus Hotel – who told me she had recently participated in an up-to-the-peak-and-down-again marathon for one of the Ural peaks, with a finishing time of eleven hours – mentioned that winters in Perm are pretty cold, with temperatures of -20C to -40C. She said, “At that temperature, everything stops working.” Today, it was sunny and warm, though, around 27C.

The receptionist also helped me get a taxi to the station. This time I paid 10% of what I paid the taxi driver in St.Petersburg. What crooks those taxi drivers in St.Petersburg are!

Here are some last impressions from Perm this morning.

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It’s Yekaterinburg next.

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