Perm was first mentioned in 1647 and its name was derived from a Uralic language that was spoken by the native people who lived here. The name Perm was originally given to the state of Great Perm which existed in this region around the upper reaches of the River Kama before it was absorbed by the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In addition, the Permian geologic period was named after the area.
The city today is a major industrial and administrative centre in the region, but with a strong focus on culture and art. It is famous for its Opera and Ballet House and the Perm Museum of Modern Art, one of the best in the whole of Russia. In addition, there is a display at the Perm State Art Museum of local wooden sculptures of Christ and saints, which were popular in this part of the Urals to decorate churches alongside the more traditional icons.