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The capital city of Wales and the centre for Welsh commerce, culture and sport and home to the National Assembly of Wales

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Cardiff is the capital city of Wales and the countries largest settlement. It is the centre for Welsh Commerce, culture and sport and home to the National Assembly of Wales. It is also one of the most popular tourist centres in the UK and the most visited in Wales. It is a coastal city and can be found on the southern shores of Wales.

Modern Cardiff
Photo by joncandy
Cardiff's development really began around 1081 AD, when William I of England began to develop the old Roman Fort into Cardiff Castle. The existing settlement then began to grow and by the end of the 13th century had a population of over 2000. The Castle sits in the grounds of Bute Park and can still be visited today. Cardiff however remained for many years a small Welsh town, until the industrial boom of the 19th century led to rapid expansion. It came to prominence as a major port and was the hub of trade for the thousands of tons of coal produced by the mining villages of the Welsh heartland. It gained city status in 1905 and was given the title of capital in 1955.

Cardiff Castle
Photo by Million Moments
As you'd expect of any capital, Cardiff has a variety of attractions and landmarks. The major centre for Welsh politics, the National Assembly for Wales, is made up of a striking set of structures; the French-Gothic renaissance Pierhead Building and the modern Senedd which houses the debating chamber. The historic Castle adds some age old design and the performing arts centre of St David's Hall, a more 80's feel. The National History Museum at St Fagans Castle in the west of the city offers the joy of seeing dozens of buildings from across Welsh history and is an excellent open air museum that can be enjoyed by all the family.

Cardiff Senedd
Photo in the Public Domain (PD)
Llandaff Cathedral is one of two Cathedrals in the city. Located in the district of Llandaff, it dates to 1107 AD and is built on one of the oldest Christian sites in Britain. It has a beautiful interior and highlights include a triptych completed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Epsteins Christ, inside Llandaff Cathedral
Photo by ahisgett
Almost as important to the Welsh as politics and religion however is sport, and the Millennium Stadium stands tall and proud in the heart of the city. The home of the national football and rugby teams it has a fully retractable roof and can seat almost 75,000 spectators.

Cardiff Millenium Stadium
Photo by Rob Gale

Inside the Millenium Stadium
Photo by Thomas Duesing
Cardiff Bay has recently undergone a huge redevelopment scheme and is now a wonderful site of modern architecture and design. It houses amongst others the fabulous Senedd as well as the Wales Millennium Centre. This arts centre is commonly known as the armadillo as a result of its remarkable design. The Cardiff Bay Barrage helps to maintain the water of the docklands even at low tide and so retain the picturesque nature of the bay, large mudflats not being too appealing! The Bay also contains 'the Point', a church turned music venue; and the Coal Exchange, the old centre for business in coal and now a popular centre for culture.

Cardiff Bay
Photo in the Public Domain (PD)

The Point in Cardiff
Photo by Seth Whales
One of the best ways to enjoy Cardiff is by joining the Cardiff Centenary Walk, a 3.7km ramble around the city centre. Do be aware however, the landmark way markers can be hard to spot!

Exploring Cardiff on foot
Photo by fuzzytnth3
Cardiff is a modern city that reflects much of Wales; with its love of music, culture and sport, but also a place working hard to define itself amongst the world's many capitals. More than just a large port, Cardiff has, in recent years, shaped its own identity and that is now one of development, modern design and cutting edge culture.
Visitor Information
Cardiff Castle is open daily, 9am to 5pm (6pm in summer). Entry costs around £10.50 for adults, £8 children. Castle Street, Cardiff, CF10 3RB. Tel: 02920 878100
St Fagan's Natural History Museum is open daily, 10am to 5pm. Entry is FREE. St Fagans National History Museum,
Cardiff, CF5 6XB. Tel: 02920 573500

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