Cardiff is the largest and most populous city, as well as being the capital city of the county of Wales, in Great Britain. This city covers an area of fifty-four square miles and has a population of over three hundred thousand people. The city can trace its roots back to the fourth century BC when Neolithic tribes inhabited the area. Cardiff was a part of the territory owned by the Celtic British tribe known as the Silures. Over the years, several settlements were to be built on the area that now belongs to Cardiff. These include a Roman fort, as well as several Saxon settlements. During the late eleventh century, William I began construction of a keep located with the walls of the Roman fort. This castle was known as Cardiff Castle and it still stands at the center of the city. Around this castle the town began to flourish and boasted a population of two thousand people during the Middle Ages. During the twelfty century, a wood palisade was constructed around the city as a protection measure. It was also during this time that it was declared a staple port.
The modern chapter of Cardiff’s history would come in 1905 when King Edward VII gave the town city status. By 1916, this city would acquire a Roman Catholic Cathedral, which was followed by a number of national institutions. After World War I, Cadiff experienced a brief economic boom. This increase in economic activity was short lived however, and the city enter a period of depression between World War I and World War II. Today, Cardiff is one of the primary economic engines in the Welsh economy. This city accounts for nearly twenty percent of Wales Gross Domestic Product. This city has become the principle financial and business sector in Wales. Prominent companies are based in the city. These include Principality Building Society, Admiral Insurance, British Gas, SWALEC Energy and ING Direct. The city also boast a thriving tourist trade and is one of the most popular destinations in the United Kingdom, receiving over twelve million tourist a year. This has resulted in large investments in Cardiff related to retail and hotel accommodations.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in the city is Cardiff Castle. Cardiff Castle was originally built as a Norman keep around 1091 by Robert Fitzhamon. In the nineteenth century, the castle was enlarged and reimagined in a Gothic Revival style for the Second Marquess of Bute. In 1869, several features were added to this castle which included Herbert Tower, Beauchamp Tower, the smoking rooms, Chaucer Room, Arab Room, the Roof Garden and Lord Bute’s Bedroom. Another prominent attraction in Cardiff is St Fagans National History Museum. St Fagans National History Museum was founded in 1946, upon receipt of donation of the castle and its lands by the Earl of Plymouth. It opened its doors around 1948 and was originally known as the Welsh Folk Museum. This museum features over forty buildings. These are beautiful examples of Welsh architecture and include an early Celtic village, a Unitarian chapel, a schoolhouse, windmills, Nant Wallter Cottage, The Prefab, The Tannery, Oakdale Workmen’s Institute, The Cockpit, Abernodwydd Farmhouse and a road tollbooth.
Another popular attraction in Cardiff is Llandaff Cathedral. Llandaff Cathedral is located in the Cardiff suburb of Llandaff and was built in dedication to St. Paul and St. Peter. It is also dedicated to the Welsh saints, Euddogwy, Teilo and Dyfrig. The original church is believed to have been built around the sixth century by St. Teilo. The cathedral as it stands today was built in the twelfth century by Bishop Urban. The cathedral went through a period of neglect, until the nineteenth century when the building underwent a period of restoration. The restoration saw the church’s tower completely rebuilt and a new spire added.
Millennium Stadium is the national stadium of the county and is home of the Wales Rugby Union team and the Wales football team. But, it also host many other events which include the Grad Prix of Great Britain and music concerts. This stadium was completed in 1999, just in time to host the Rugby World Cup. The stadium has a capacity of over seventy-four hundred people and one of its most prominent features is a retractable roof. The stadium consist of three tiers of seating, with the lower tier capable of holding twenty-three thousand people, the middle tier holding eighteen thousand people and the upper tier holding thirty-three thousand people. This stadium was built using over fifty-six thousand tons of steel and concrete. It has one hundred and twenty-eight hospitality boxes, twenty-two bars, seven restaurants, twelve escalators, seven lifts and seventeen first aid stations. Several bands have had concerts here since the stadium was constructed. These include Robbie Williams, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, The Rolling Stones, REM, Oasis, The Police and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.