Cardiff and Cardiff Castle
The city of Cardiff is the capital of Wales, and has only been so since 1955. Cardiff is also Wales’ largest city and the seventh largest in the United Kingdom. Cardiff is also the home of the Wales National Rugby Union team which plays in the impressive Millennium Stadium. This stadium also held some of the athletic events of the 2012 Olympics in England.
One of the most interesting tourist sites of Cardiff is its Castle. A mixture of Roman ruins, a fortress of William the Conqueror and a 19th century interpretation of what a medieval castle should looked like.
The Romans built a fortress on the site where the castle now stands in the 3rd Century, and in the 11th Century William the Conqueror commissioned a castle to be constructed on those Roman ruins. In its history the castle has gone through many reconstructions and modifications.
The last was in the 19th Century by the third Marquess, who commissioned William Burges to remodel it in a Gothic style, and today it is considered to be one of the most magnificent examples of that style. Throughout the centuries this castle has been the site of numerous battles and sieges in its many different forms. Today the Castle is owned and operated by the city of Cardiff as one of its most popular attraction.
North Wales and the National Slate Museum
From Cardiff we headed into North Wales, where we drove through the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park.
You can take a narrow-gauge train through the heart of the Snowdonia region to get the full wonder of its fabulous mountain scenery.
At the National Slate Museum in Gilfach Ddu you’ll learn the history of that regions slate industry. The quarrying of slate from Wales goes back to the Roman occupation, which used slate for the roofs of their forts.
The slate industry in Wales grew slowly until the early 18th century when it expanded rapidly. By the late 19th century close to 17,000 men were employed by the quarries due to its demand. Beginning in the 20th century, when the use of other materials for roofing came into use the slate industry declined.
Slate is still used today, but on a much reduced scale. The buildings used by the museum were constructed in 1870, as workshops to service the needs for the Dinorwic slate quarry and its locomotives.
The museum honors those men who worked the difficult jobs in quarrying and transporting what was once the dominate industry of northern Wales.