Permskaya region belongs to the Ural region. Its capital is the city of Perm, located in the central part of the region. Perm is the largest city in the Kama area, extending for more than 60 km along the banks of the Kama River. It was founded in 1723 near the village of Egoshikha dating from the early 17th century. A state-owned brass works using local cuprous sandstones was built here, where the Egoshikha River flows into the Kama. Perm was built on site of the village, and from 1796 onward, was a provincial capital.
The Kama area is known for its long frosty, snowy Ural winters. However, the region's severe continental climate causes abrupt seasonal changes, from a cold winter followed by a mild, usually warm spring and then by a hot summer.
Perm is both a cultural and scientific center. Perm University, founded in 1916, was the first higher educational institution in the Urals. Other facilities operating here in addition to the university include a technical university, many other institutes belonging to the Perm Science Center of the Ural Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and research and design institutions.
In December 2005 Permskaya region became a part of Permskaya Territory. Komi-Permyatskaya Autonomous area has joined the region.
Perm has long been famous for its musical and theatrical traditions. The first musical performance was held here in 1806, and the stone building of the opera theater was constructed in 1878. Today, Perm has the Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theater, a puppet theater, and a young people's theater. The Perm Ballet School, philharmonic, circus, art gallery, and local history museum are world famous.
Perm is a junction for railway lines to Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Kushva, and Solikamsk; and considerable emphasis is placed on developing highways and increasing the number of paved roads. Bridge construction is proceeding rapidly. The four river ports located in Perm Region (Perm, Levshino, Berezniki, and Tchaikovsky) connect to ports on the Baltic, White, Black, and Caspian seas and the Sea of Azov.
Perm is also located at the intersection of main air routes. The regionally administered Bolshoe Savino Airport has international status, with customs and border services and flights to European, Middle Eastern, and Far Eastern countries.
Permskaya region has a population of about 3 million people, one-third of them living in Perm. The region is multinational, with representatives of more than 80 nationalities among the population. Most of these nationalities belong to three language groups: Slavic, Turkic, and Finno-Ugrian. Russians make up 83.8% of the population.
The city of Perm, with its more than 200 years of history, occupies a special position among the cities of Perm Region. The city's name is derived from the Finno-Ugrian pera ma, meaning "distant land".
The word "Perm" is first encountered in the early 12th-century masterpiece of Old Rus known as The Tale of Bygone Years (Povest vremennykh let).
Great Perm took a very active part in defending and developing the Trans-Ural (Zauralskie) lands that had recently become part of the Russian state.
Mass Russian settlement of the Kama area took place in the 16th century. By decree of Tsar Ivan the Terrible, salt production began, trades developed, and churches and monasteries were built here. Fortress walls encircled the settlements.
In 1723, V.N. Tatishchev, one of Peter the Great's closest associates, built the Egoshikha brass works, which quickly became an important economic and transshipment center on the banks of the navigable Kama River. Goods were exported via the Chusovaya River and then down the Kama to the Volga.
As a result of administrative reforms carried out in Russia in 1780, the settlement at Egoshikha, being the most geographically convenient point, was chosen as the center of a huge territory called Perm Province. The rise of Perm brought the Western Urals more fully into the empire's sphere of geopolitical interests, and Perm itself became a seat of power.
The territory's diversity of natural resources and the development of commercial agriculture and livestock farming led to the expansion of cottage industries among the population. Perm Province ranked high in the country in the number of home industries; and the tradition of crafts such as pottery, stonecutting, lapidary work, blacksmithing, and cabinetmaking continues to this day.
The Western Ural region was a huge territory where platinum was mined. By the end of the 19th century, gold production had doubled and a variety of other minerals were being produced. Mining companies had undergone an industrial revolution, and capital investments by foreign firms had increased significantly.
With the development of capitalism in Russia, the province's importance as both an industrial and a transportation center increased. New factories were built, some of which, like the Motovilikhinsky Cannon Factory, were the equal of European factories in technical equipment. The Gornozavodskaya railway connecting Perm with Ekaterinburg was built in 1878. In these pre-Revolutionary times, Perm was the administrative, transit, and cultural center of the Urals.
Economic development led to an increase in the number of residents: according to the census of 1897, Perm had a population of 45 000. Various educational institutions were concentrated in the city; and a university (the 11th university in Russia) opened in 1916 thanks to the provincial administration and local scientific societies. Many educational institutions were opened on private funds. The Perm Scientific and Industrial Museum, founded in 1890, was the territory's main cultural and educational center.
A number of people who left their mark on Russian history were closely linked to industrial development in the province. The old names of the factories still preserve references to the family names of Tatishchev, Shuvalov, and Demidov. However, Perm gave the world more than just famous industrialists. The life and work of the great Russian composer Petr Ilich Tchaikovsky, architects I. Sviyazev and A. Voronikhin, inventor of the radio A.S. Popov [Russians claim that Popov invented the radio before Marconi], and inventor of electric arc welding N.G. Slavyanov are connected with the city in the Urals. Writers D. Mamin-Sibiryak and P. Bazhov were also born in Perm.
Perm was also a place of political exile of such well-known people as M.M. Speransky (1812-1814, A.I. Gertsen (1835), and V.G. Korolenko (1880-1890).
Perm played a special role during World War Two. Many large factories from the European part of the USSR were saved by being evacuated to the city. Perm produced artillery pieces, aircraft engines, small arms, and the famous Katyusha rocket.
Between 1940 and 1957, Perm was known as Molotov.
The 20th century was marked by rapid growth of the Kama area's industrial potential. New cities grew up around the new factories.
More than 5000 amateur artistic groups are evidence of the vitality of cultural traditions. Some of them are well known not only in Russia, but also in many other countries.
The articles made by craftsmen of the Kama area are beautiful and distinctive. More than 50 traditional folk arts have been preserved to our time, for example, birchbark plaiting, woodcarving, weaving, stone cutting, pottery, and lacemaking.
Permskaya region has become best known for stone cutting. The largest centers of this craft are Ordinsky District and the city of Kungur. The work of Perm's master stonecutters has been shown many times at interregional and international exhibitions. There are craftsmen who carefully follow all the traditional methods of working this material; however, it was only in the mid-1980s that the Western Urals were opened for general visiting [many cities of the region were closed to foreigners in the Soviet period because of their defense, nuclear, or other strategic facilities]. Perestroika flung open the gates with the five-pointed red stars. Today, one of Russia's richest provinces is open for integration into the world economy, cultural exchanges, and contacts at all levels.
Perm has three large botanical sites: the Zakamsky pine grove, Linden Mountain (Lipovaya Gora), and the municipal Chernyaevsky Forest Park, which have a total area of 2400 hectares. Forests cover 71% of Perm Region. Dense stands of spruce and fir are located in the north; pine woods, in the northwest; and deciduous forests (linden, maple, elm, oak, and shrubs), in the south. Birch and aspen forests are encountered everywhere.
Mature and overmature stands occupy more than half of the total forest area. Intensive logging is going on; however, the pace of forest regeneration work in the region is slower for various reasons. The planting stock is grown in nursery forests.
In addition to direct planting, preparation of land for future forestation, nurseries, and plantations is progressing well. Meadows and pasture occupy about 10% of the region, and bog vegetation occupies another 5%.
About 60 species of mammals, more than 200 species of birds, about 40 species of fish, 6 species of reptiles, and 9 species of amphibians are encountered in Perm Region. More than 30 species of mammals are commercially important.
Martens, stoats, weasels, and wolves are found throughout the region; badgers and otters, in the southern and central districts; and wolverines, the north. Bears and lynx inhabit the entire region, except the far south. Among hoofed animals, moose predominate in the Kama area, while deer come in from neighboring regions.
Efforts are being made in the region to adapt and breed certain commercial animal species, such as beavers, raccoon dogs, muskrats, Arctic fox, and mink.
The most common birds in the region are wood, black, and hazel grouse, crossbills, and several species of titmice; migratory birds encountered here include starlings, thrushes, rooks, and swallows. The most common predatory birds are eagles, owls, crows, and magpies.
Perm Region has the largest number of natural and artificial water bodies in the Urals. All rivers flowing into the region belong to the Kama River basin. The Kama River itself is 1805 km long. Several tributaries of the Kama with their sources in the Urals are typical mountain rivers, although their flow velocity decreases significantly on the plains. The main water source for the rivers of the Western Urals, including the Kama, is snowmelt. Therefore, prolonged freezing, high spring runoff, and low water in summer and winter are characteristic of the rivers in the region. The rivers in the northeastern part of the region have high water levels year round, while those in the south become very low and even dry up. Ponds in the Kama area control the flow of small rivers and are also used to meet the needs of smale-scale power generation, timber rafting, fishing, water supply, irrigation, and for beautifying rural landscapes. Most of the lakes in Perm region are small and marshy. The largest lakes: Chusovskoe (area - 19.4 km2), Bolshoi Kumikush, and Novozhilovo are located in the north. Lake Rogalek, with a depth of 61 m, is considered to be the deepest lake. Chusovskoe Lake is a state reserve specially set aside to protect several migratory bird species. Another reserve on Lake Adovoa protects the nesting sites of the rare whooping swan.
Culture and Art
Perm Region has a rich and varied cultural life. Ten professional theaters operate in the region, allowing people to relax and enjoy the world of art, while intellectually enriching the upcoming generation. The Tchaikovsky Academic Opera and Ballet Theater in Perm, one of the oldest theaters in Russia, is widely known and its ballet company is world renowned. Many graduates of the Perm Choreographic School, whose ballet school has received world recognition, have performed on the theater's stage.
The Sports Rhythms of Russia (Sportivnye ritmy Rossii) dance ensemble under the direction of M.A. Korlyakova also performs on the stage of the Academic Theater. It is the only professional dance company to combine classical and show choreography with gymnastics.
The All-Union Rock-Line Festival is held annually near the Kungurskaya ice cave. Live performances of contemporary music, well-prepared programs for children and teenagers, plus the festival's unusual location in an anomalous zone attract crowds of music fans and tourists. Rock-Line is included among the 50 best events of the federal "Russian Youth" program.
Sculpture, stonecutting, and jewelry are old traditions in the Kama area. The All-Russian symposium on granite park sculpture is held in Perm. Participants work right in front of the spectators, who have come to see this impressive performance in the city's Gorky Children's Park. The International Snow- and Ice-Sculpture Festival has already been held more than once in this same park.
The Perm Art Gallery has a world-famous collection of wooden sculptures. Another attraction is the Khokhlovka architectural and ethnographic museum reserve, which has combined unique wooden buildings of the 17th to 19th centuries into a grand ensemble. Restoration of these buildings is currently underway. There a 18 museums in Perm Region; and Perm itself has a circus, a philharmonic, and the only planetarium in the Urals.