Oxford Perm Association - The city of Perm
Perm is almost 24 hours east of Moscow on the Trans Siberian Railway (the transport usually taken by visitors from Oxford).
It lies on the western edge of the Ural mountains (the last city of Europe) and borders the great Kama river.
For many years it was closed to foreigners, since it was a centre of the armanents and aviation industries which were important during the Cold War. Since 1989 it has been open to the world,
and has flourished in post-Soviet Russia as it has been able to draw on a wealth of raw materials from the Urals.
Perm is a vigorous intellectual and cultural centre with
three universities, world class ballet and a UNESCO heritage collection of wooden sculpture in the old cathedral, now a museum.
The city of Perm is full of contrasts, from old orthodox churches, mosques and decorated wooden houses to modern administration buildings and apartment blocks, theatres and an
opera house. Although considerable poverty exists in parts of the city, overall it is developing significantly in terms of wealth and social welfare. Oxford governmental,
educational and voluntary organisations have contributed to the democratic development of Perm since the end of the Soviet Union.
The city was the model for 'Yuryatin' in Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak and several of the sites in the novel are still the same, including the municipal library (where Zhivago and Lara met).
Also(unfairly) Perm was used for the provincial town in "The Three Sisters" by Chekhov.
Perm is an exciting and energetic place with many citizens finding new and enterprising ways of coping with the transition from a closed city to a vibrant modern
metropolis. People from Oxford and Oxfordshire have worked alongside their partners in Perm in a wide range of voluntary, civic, cultural and academic projects
As a result of many exchange visits, hundreds of new and lasting friendships have strengthened the links between our communities.
Visitors from Oxford have opportunities for seeing the surrounding countryside. This varies from expanses of birch forest to beautiful monasteries and a re-built wooden village and stunning view of rivers such as the Silva near Kungur (popular for canoe trips with organised Oxford Perm exchange visitors).
In summary, the city of Perm and its surrounding area in the Perm Region offers a wide variety of interesting features and the Oxford Perm Association offers an opportunity for a visit which includes a wide range of cultural and educational possibilities.
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