Though Perm cannot compete in economic terms with Yekaterinburg - which is a much bigger city - its cultural life is at least as rich. I realised this when I visited its art gallery, which is mainly known - unfairly in my opinion - for its collection of the Christian art work of the Komi people. Though this is indeed very striking, it detracts attention from the very fine collection the gallery has gathered of paintings extending back to the eighteenth century and reaching forward to the present day. The centre-piece of cultural life in Perm is however the opera house. This is housed in a fine neoclassical nineteenth century building that could compete with many in Europe.
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Natylie Baldwin is co-author of Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated, available from Tayen Lane Publishing. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in various publications including Sun Monthly, Dissident Voice, (more...)