Perth has been known as The Fair City since 1828 when The Fair Maid of Perth was published. The town was called St John's Toun or Saint Johnstoun in the middle ages, by its Scots-speaking inhabitants attributed to the main church dedicated to St John the Baptist.
The name Perth comes from a Pictish word for copse or wood. Since prehistoric times there has been a settlement at Perth, just above the flood plain of the Tay on a natural mound. Perth became known as a 'capital' of Scotland, due to the frequent residence of the royal court. Becoming one of the richest burghs in the country, the town, traded with the Low Countries, France and the Baltic Countries for goods such as French wine and Spanish silk. Perth's first railway station was built in 1848. Today, Perth serves as a retail centre for the surrounding area. Perth's economy has now altered to include banking and insurance and the whisky industry has diminished locally.
Perth’s Museum and Art Gallery is recognised as one of the oldest provincial museums in Scotland. One of the oldest and most historic repertory theatres in Scotland is Perth Theatre built in 1900. A £10 million redevelopment is transforming the theatre into an arts complex to house new studio space, a youth theatre, construction workshop and a range of front of house acting areas including the restoration and conservation of the traditional Edwardian auditorium.
Perth Concert Hall which opened in 2005, was built on the site of the former Horsecross Market and largely funded from Britain's millennium celebrations. Held in May for a couple of weeks, The Perth Festival is a yearly collection of theatre, classical, art and opera music events in the town. A 15th century brass candelabrum that was imported from the Low Countries is a rare and unique treasure that survived in Scotland. It includes a statuette of the Virgin Mary making its survival more outstanding. Also incredibly, the collection of medieval bells is the largest to have survived in Great Britain.
Fair Maid's House on North Port a Category A listed building and is the oldest remaining secular building in Perth. Sections of the building date back from 1475 and it is built on the foundations of previous buildings. Lower Mills was used for oatmeal and barley, dating back from 1805 and is a Category A listed building, while the 1792 Category A listed Upper Mills consisted of two wheat mills connected to a granary. The Category A listed former Perth Waterworks completed in 1832, serves as the main focus point on the southern end of the city centre. The waterworks which have been converted into a gallery dedicated to the works of J.D. Fergusson in 1992, is one of the very few early surviving examples of a cast iron structure.
The Bell's Sport Centre in Perth is a big sports complex. It was the biggest domed building in Britain before the building of the Greenwich Dome. An identical structure exists in Massachusetts, USA at Lexington High School. The Dewar's Centre, which includes an eight-lane ice rink, has long been a main centre of curling in Scotland.
Perth’s parks are the North Inch and South Inch. The South Inch offers many activities, including bowling, an adventure playground, a skate park, and, in the summer, a bouncy castle. The Perth Show takes place annually on the section of the Inch between the Edinburgh Road and Shore Road.