Large deposits of metals and minerals gave rise to many industrial cities in the Urals. Perm founded in 1723 is among them. Today Perm is an industrialized city with one million inhabitants.

The oldest building in Perm is the Peter & Paul Cathedral built in 1764.

The Holy Trinity and the Ascension Cathedrals built in 19th century are also nice and photogenic.

Perm has a good opera and ballet theatre.

The Ural Hotel.

The salty ears.

Perm is closely connected with Boris Pasternak, the outstanding Russian writer and Nobel laureate in literature. The scene of the story told by Pasternak in his brilliant novel "Doctor Zhivago" is laid in Perm. The restaurant "Zhivago" is a good place to have dinner before going ahead with a road trip around the Perm Krai. Pasternak's bust stands next to the restaurant.

A place to relax after a walking tour around the city.

Ladies in red.

There are at least two places, which are must-see sights for a discerning traveler. They are the Kungur Ice Cave and the notorious labour camp "Perm-36" - a jail for Soviet political prisoners.


The town of Kungur is located about 80 km south of Perm. The town was founded in 1663 as a copper-smelting center. Some notable buildings remain in Kungur from this time. They are the Transfiguration Cathedral (1781), the Nikola Cathedral (1865-76), the Tikhvinsky Temple (1763), the Assumption Cathedral (1761).

Kungur's coat of arms.

The 19th century trade arcade.


The Kungur Ice Cave is located in the outskirts of Kungur. Ramified passages extend under the ground for over 6,000 meters, and only a small part has already been explored. To this day old slides and sloughing do not allow determining the total length of the cave. In the explored part of the cave there are dozens of grottoes and 60 lakes with crystal clear water. Columns of stalagmites and icicles of stalactites up to two meters high adorn the grottoes. Over millennia, water rich in limestone has created an infinite variety of forms. The snowflakes change in size during the year and reach the size of a maple leaf in late winter. The cave is flooded twice a year, in spring and in autumn, when it is not accessible to tourists. The best time to visit the Ice Cave is late February-March.


The Belogorsky Monastery is located 50 km west of Kungur. The main cathedral sits on top of a hill in a scenic place. The hill is often referred to as the Holy Mount Athon of the Urals. The monastery is revered by believers from all over Perm Krai. On weekends people flock the hill to collect sacred water running from the source on top of the hill next to the main cathedral.


Some 150 km north of Kungur travelers can visit the ill-famous prison "Perm-36". It was set up in 1946 as part of the GULAG system. After Stalin`s rule it served as a special prison for law enforcement officers. In 1972 the facility was turned into a prison of an especially strict regime where Soviet dissidents were held in custody. After the fall of communism the prison became a museum of political repressions - the only one of this kind in Russia set in the real environment. The prison has neither been rebuilt nor undergone major renovation since the time of GULAG.


The road to the north of Perm runs through the town of Solikamsk. It used to be a major salt producing area. The town thrived in 16-19 centuries. Hence many churches built by local merchants. The belfry in the center of the town is slightly leaning. Locals are very proud of its poor verticality. It relates Solikamsk to Italy.

The leaning belfry.

Lenin pointing to the nearest vodka shop.

The Epiphany Cathedral.

The 17th century governor’s house.


Moving farther north we will eventually arrive at a very small but interesting historic and provincial town of Cherdyn located 300 km from Perm. Cherdyn is the oldest town in Perm Krai. It is a place where time has stopped since the days of Old Russia. The only industrial facility in the town is a bread-bakery. The main source of income for the residents is logging. The streets are quiet as traffic is very low, green in summer and snow white in wintertime.

Lenin in Cherdyn looks like a bodybuilder.

Old wooden gates are falling apart.

In the forest 2 km from Cherdyn there is a nice hotel "The Severny Ural". In low season (from November to April) most likely car travelers will be the only guests at this isolated place. You can have a cottage at our disposal and sauna with a pool of icy water. Having washed, dived, dined and wined, travelers fell asleep wrapped in complete silence. No foreign unwanted sounds at all, only subtle rustle of fir-trees.


A car traveler gets into real backwoods when driving from Cherdyn to the village of Nyrob (Ныроб) where a passable road actually ends. On the way you can see old churches of all shapes and sizes, abandoned houses and cemeteries overgrown with fir-trees with an abandoned wooden chapel standing amid tombs and leaning crosses. The view reminds scenes from Russian fairytales.

Stained glass church in the village of Vilgort.

Blown up church in the village of Pokcha.

Abandoned house coated with wooden tiles.

A Sberbank office in the village of Vilgort.


The village of Nyrob, 44 km north of Cherdyn, is the place, where Mikhail Romanov, uncle of the first tsar of the Romanov dynasty, was exiled in 1601 by Boris Godunov his rival for the Russian throne. Romanov was kept in shackles in an underground dungeon and died after one year of imprisonment. But after the Romanovs came to power, they endowed the village with their charity.

The underground cell was turned into a memorial site on the eve of the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913. The place is open for rare tourists. The shackles are displayed in the Cherdyn regional museum.

The dungeon was here.

Church in Nyrob.

Mikhail Romanov's shackles.

Do not be surprised on seeing a long grey fence with barbed wire and watch towers when approaching Nyrob. To this day, the village remains a place of exiles. 4,000 criminals are serving their terms in camps near Nyrob while the population of the village amounts to only 2,000 people.


The trip to the backwoods like Cherdyn is quite a detour from the main road while another well-known place of interest lies right on our way on the border of Perm krai and Sverdlovsk oblast. I mean the so-called Perm anomaly zone a mysterious locality allegedly frequented by extraterrestrial vehicles and supernatural phenomena. The nearest village is named Molebka.

From early 90-s scientists, ufologists and just curious people have been flocking the area with the intention to witness and somehow to document unknown phenomena. The most commonly reported sightings and phenomena: UFO, flying red or orange balls, sonic or visual hallucinations, telepathic contacts with extraterrestrial creatures, human-shaped ghosts, sudden discharge or recharge of batteries.

Local people cash in on this unhealthy interest to their once quiet and forgotten village. UFO hunters are offered board and lodging and guided tours around the entire anomaly zone that occupies approximately 70 square kilometers.