Cardiff City Hallhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cardiff_city_hall_pano.jpg
is the largest city and also the capital of Wales. It was granted city status in 1905, and made the capital of Wales in 1955. Cardiff has a population of 324,000. It is today the chief commercial center, tourism center and seat of the National Assembly of Wales.
The area in and around Cardiff bear evidence of human habitation going back to the Neolithic age. Following conquest of Britain, the Romans built a fort here, near the mouth of the River Taff, around AD 75. When the fort was abandoned in the early 2nd century, a village has been established here.
Not much is known of the Cardiff village between the Roman departure and the Norman conquest, with all likelihood that the village receded in size and may even be abandoned. Following Norman conquest, King William I of England built Cardiff Castle in 1081. The castle provided the catalyst for a more permanent town to grow around it. By the 13th century, the town has grown to a population of 2,000. Though small in size compared to other towns in English, it was by far the biggest settlement in Wales.
Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff, Waleshttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Llandaff_Cathedral.JPG
Cardiff became a county town following the creation of the shire of Glamorgan through the 1536 Act of Union between England and Wales. On 28 October 1905 it was granted city status. Within the following years, a number of naitonal institutions were established in Cardiff, including a national museum, a Welsh national war memorial and the University of Wales registry building. It also acquired a Roman Catholic cathedral in 1916.
Following a brief period of expansion, the economy of Cardiff faltered with the slump in coal prices. World War II brought much devastation to the city. It was only as late as 1955 that the city was proclaimed capital of Wales, a position Caernarfon also vied for.
Today the city of Cardiff has a modern, well-developed downtown with a number of skyscrapers, including the prestigious waterfront development of Bayscape, which will include a 127-meter 30-storey tower, the tallest building in Wales.
The Pierhead Building, Cardiffhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Pierhead_Building,_Cardiff_Bay.jpg
Going to Cardiff
Cardiff Rhoose International Airport is some 12 miles to the southwest of downtown Cardiff. Budget travelers arriving at the airport can take the bus. At time of writing (April 2010), the bus stop is located near the Short Stay Car park, which is a short walking distance once you exit the terminal building. Bus Route X91 runs between the airport and Cardiff Central station. The journey takes 35 minutes and costs £2.10 per adult.
You can also take the train from the airport to Cardiff Central station. There is an hourly train Mondays to Saturdays and two hourly on Sundays. The fare is usually around £3.30.
The Cardiff Central railway station is the transportation hub for Wales. You can easily take a train from London Paddington station to Cardiff Central. The journey takes two hours.
Going around Cardiff
Downtown Cardiff can be easily explored on foot. It is a compact place with most of the sights near each other. If you plan to go further afield, then take the Cardiff Bus.
Places of Interest in Cardiff
- Millennium Stadium
Home of Welsh rugby.
- Pier Head Building
19th century terracotta building.
- Wales Millennium Centre
Home to the Wales National Opera.
A science museum in Cardiff.
- Norwegian Church
Church erected for the Norwegian sailors in the 19th century.
- Cardiff Castle
Castle that began as a Roman fort.
- Cardiff City Hall and Civic Centre
Neo-Classical buildings of Portland stone around Alexandra Gardens.
- National Museum of Wales
Museum documenting the history of Wales, with an impressive collection of art.
- Crafts in the Bay
Crafts gallery established in 1996.
- Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans
Museum with reconstructed buildings from all over Wales.
- Llandaff Cathedral
Seat of the Bishop of Llandaff, head of the Anglican Church in Wales.
- Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral of St David
Roman Catholic cathedral of Cardiff.
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