Cardiff is the capital of Wales, as well as the most important commercial, cultural, sports, educational and media center in the country. It is also a unitary authority located in the southeast of Wales, on the banks of the Bristol channel and near the English border. The city expanded enormously during the 19th century due to the mining activity and the traffic of its ports.
According to the official estimates of the municipality obtained with respect to the 2006 census, the population of Cardiff was 317 500 inhabitants, 3 being then the sixteenth most populated city in the United Kingdom. Cardiff is an important tourist center with 11.7 million visitors in 2006.
The experts consider that the name of Cardiff and its Welsh equivalent Caerdydd derive from British postromanal words that mean "strength in the Taff". Dydd or Diff are the two modifications of the "River Taff", a river on which the Castle of Cardiff rises (with the mutation of the letter "T" by the "D" in Welsh). According to one of the leading modern authorities in toponymy, 5 the Welsh pronunciation of Caerdyff as Caerdydd is a sample of the Welsh colloquial permutation "-f" and "-dd"
In the past, antiquarians such as William Camden suggested that the name Cardiff could derive from the name Caer-Didi ("the Fort of Didius") in honor of Aulus Didius Galo, the governor of a province near the time when the Romans erected a fortress in the locality. Although some modern web sites repeat this theory as a fact, it is refuted by modern language scholars, such as Professor Pierce Gwynedd of the University of Cardiff, who recently dismissed it sharply.
Roman times until the Middle Ages
Cardiff was fortified by the Romans during the occupation of the British Isles. When the dominion in Britannia ended at the beginning of the 5th century, the fort was abandoned.The remains of that original fortification are still visible in Cardiff Castle.
Map of Cardiff by John Speed in 1610.
In 1091 Robert Fitzhamon began to work in the castle to preserve the walls of the old Roman fortress. The building was substantially modified and expanded during the Victorian era by John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, and architect William Burges.
In the shadow of the castle soon grew a small village composed mainly of settlers from England. During the Middle Ages, the population of Cardiff ranged between 1500 and 2000 inhabitants, the normal size for a Welsh town at the time. However, at the end of the 13th century, Cardiff was the only city in Wales with a population of over 2000 inhabitants, although it was still relatively small compared to other cities in the Kingdom of England.
During the Middle Ages, the town had a busy port, which by 1327 had already become the basic element of the city. At the beginning of the 12th century, a wooden palisade was built around its perimeter to protect it.
In 1404 Owain Glyndwr set fire to Cardiff and took the Castle.As the town was still very small, most of the buildings, which were made of wood, were reduced to ashes. Shortly after it was rebuilt and began to flourish once more.
City County of Glamorganshire
In 1536, the Act of Union between England and Wales led to the creation of the County of Glamorgan, and Cardiff formed a county town (County town). By this time, the Herbert family had become the most powerful family in the region.In 1538, Henry VIII closed the Dominican and Franciscan convents, the remains of which were used as building materials.
The town became a Free Municipality in 1542, and in 1581, Isabel I granted it its first Royal Decree, and the city obtained a second Royal Decree in 1608.
During the Second English Civil War, the battle of St. Fagans was fought in St. Fagans, west of the city, which concluded with a decisive victory of the parliamentarians against the royalists and allowed Oliver Cromwell to conquer Wales. .8 It was also the last great battle that took place in this territory, with a total of 200 dead soldiers (mostly loyal to the Crown).
In the decade of 1790 a service of diligence was established that communicated it with London, a hippodrome was constructed and a printing press, banks and coffees settled down. Despite these improvements, its position in the Welsh urban hierarchy declined during the eighteenth century. Iolo Morganwg called it "a dark and insignificant place", and the census of 1801 gave as a result that the population was 1870 people, making Cardiff the twenty-fifth city of Wales, well behind Merthyr and Swansea.
Construction of the docks
In 1793, John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquis of Bute, was born, who spent his life building the docks of the town and was called "the creator of modern Cardiff." In 1815 a service was established twice a week to Bristol .
During the industrial revolution, most of the coal exported to the world left the port and the wealth generated allowed the remodeling of Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch. The city grew rapidly from the 1830s, and became the main coal export port of the valleys of Cynon, Rhondda and Rhymney, growing between 1840 and 1870 at a rate of almost 80% per decade. Much of the growth was due to migration from within and outside of Wales: in 1851, a quarter of the population of the city was English by birth and more than 10% had been born in Ireland. In the 1881 census, it had surpassed both Merthyr and Swansea and became the largest Welsh city. In 1893 the University of Wales was built.
In the 1880s the city faced a great challenge when David Davies Llandinam and the Barry Railways Company promoted the development of the Barry docks, the rivals of the Cardiff docks. These springs had the advantage of being accessible regardless of the state of the tide. For that reason, Barry's coal exports surpassed Cardiff's from 1901, but the coal trade administration remained centered in this city, in particular, its Coal Exchange. The city also strengthened its industrial base with the decision of Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds (the owners of the Dowlais Merthyr foundry) to build a new steel mill near the docks in East Moors in 1890.
On October 28, 1905, Cardiff obtained the status of city on the part of Edward VII, and acquired a Catholic cathedral in 1916. In the following years a growing number of national institutions, such as the National Museum of Wales, were located in the city.
After a brief boom after the First World War, the Cardiff docks entered a prolonged decline in the interwar period. In 1936, its trade was less than half of its value in 1913, reflecting the fall in demand for coal from Wales. The bombings he suffered during World War II included the devastation of Llandaff's cathedral, and in the post-war years, the city's link with the Bute family came to an end.
In response to a request from the Minister of the Interior Gwilym Lloyd George, on December 20, 1955 became the political capital of Wales. Caernarfon also aspired to the title.In 1958 the city hosted the Commonwealth Games and became a center of national administration with the establishment of the Welsh Office in 1964 which later led to the creation of several other public bodies such as the Council of the Arts of Wales and the Wales Development Agency, most of which were located in this city.
After the closure of the East Moors steelworks in 1978 the city lost population during the 1980s. However, it recovered and was one of the few cities (apart from London), where the population grew during the following decade. During this period, the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation promoted the industrial reconversion south of the city. An evaluation of the regeneration of Cardiff Bay, published in 2004, concluded that the project had "reinforced Cardiff's competitive position contributed to a huge improvement in the quality of the built environment".
Cardiff is a relatively small city surrounded by hills by the East, North and West. The geographical characteristics of the area influenced the development of the city as one of the largest coal ports in the world, due to its proximity and easy access to coal fields in the valleys of South Wales.
The city limits, to the west, with the rural district of Vale of Glamorgan, which is known as The Cardiff Garden; to the east, with the city of Newport; to the north, with the valleys of the south of Wales; and, to the south, with the river Severn and the channel of Bristol. The Taff River meanders through the center of the city and, along the Ely River, flows into Cardiff Bay. A third river, the Rhymney, crosses to the east of the city and empties directly into the Severn.
Cardiff has a temperate oceanic climate, with summers and generally mild winters, the average temperature during January is 5 ° C, while in July the average temperature reaches 17.5 ° C. The wind blows predominantly from the Southwest over the Atlantic Ocean.
Compared to the rest of Wales, the climate of the city is relatively dry, with an average rainfall of 1,065 millimeters.
After a period during the 1970s and 1980s, when its population was declining, Cardiff's population is now growing. The local authorities estimated a total population in 2006 of 317 500 inhabitants, compared with the 305,353 registered in the 2001 census. According to the figures of that census, in 2001 it was the 14th most populous city in the United Kingdom, And its urban area was on the post.
The official estimates are derived with respect to the census, so the total population is still uncertain. The city council has published two articles that argue that the 2001 census has an error by default of the population and, in particular, the population of ethnic minorities in some areas of the city center.
And it is that Cardiff has a wide range of diverse ethnic groups due to its past merchant, post-war immigration and the numerous foreign university students that the city receives every year. According to the 2001 census, the ethnic division was as follows: 91.6% white, 2% mixed race, 4% South Asian, 1.3% black and 1.2% other races. According to a 2005 report, around 30,000 people of an ethnic group live in Cardiff, 8.4% of the total (many of these communities live in Butetown, where ethnic minorities make up one third of the total population). This diversity, and especially the traditional African and Arab communities, makes numerous exhibitions and events typical of their cultures.
In 1922 Cardiff absorbed the town of Llandaff, seat of the diocese of the Anglican Church of Wales, whose bishop is currently the Anglican Archbishop of Wales. There is also a Catholic cathedral in the city. Since 1916 it has been the home of the Catholic archdiocese, however, the Catholic population has been gradually decreasing, having lost 25,000 faithful since 1980.29 Likewise, the Jewish community has lost importance and currently only two synagogues remain, one in Cyncoed and another in Moira Terrace, in front of the seven that came to be counted in the 20th century.30 There is a relevant number of anti-conformist chapels, a Greek Orthodox church built at the beginning of the 20th century and eleven mosques.
In the 2001 census, 66.9% of the population described themselves as Christian, less than the Welsh and British average, while 3.7% described themselves as Muslim, a percentage considerably higher than the average Welsh, but in accordance with the British. On the other hand, the Hindu, Sikh and Jewish religions were considerably superior in percentage with respect to the Welsh average, but inferior to the British one. 18.8% declared themselves non-religious and 8.6% declared no religion.
The oldest non-Christian community in Wales is Jewish. Jews were denied living in the country between the Expulsion Edict of 1290 and the 17th century, and it was re-established in the 18th century.The modern community has its epicenter in the Cardiff United Synagogue congregation.
Cardiff has one of the most important Muslim populations in the United Kingdom, whose origin dates back to the 19th century, when numerous sailors arrived from Yemen.The first mosque in the United Kingdom was opened in 1860 in the Cathays district. around 11,000 Muslims of different nationalities and origins.
Cardiff also houses a remarkable Hindu community, which began arriving in the city during the 1950s and 1960s. The city's first temple opened on April 6, 1979, in Grangetown, in what was an abandoned printing house (whose place was, in turn, the site of an old synagogue.) The 25th anniversary of the founding of the temple was celebrated in September 2007 with a parade of around 3000 people through the city center, including Hindus of all of the United Kingdom and members of other religious communities.Today there are some 2000 Hindus in the city, worshiping the three existing temples.
Since the reorganization of the local government in 1996, Cardiff has been governed by the City and County Council of Cardiff, which is located in the County Hall of Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff Bay. Elections are held every four years and voters elect 75 councilors.
Since the local elections of 2004, no single political party has achieved the absolute majority of the City Council. The Liberal Democrats have 35 councilors, the Conservatives have 17, the Laborists have 13, the Plaid Cymru has 7 and the pro-independence three.
The current mayor of the city is the Liberal Democrat Cllr. Rodney Berman and his party had to form a coalition with the Plaid Cymru to achieve the mayoralty.
National Assembly of Wales
The National Assembly of Wales has been in Cardiff Bay since its formation in 1999. The building is known as the Senedd (of the Welsh, parliament or legislative senate) and was opened on March 1, 2006 by Queen Elizabeth II. The executive and civil servants of the Welsh Assembly Government are in Cathays Park while the support team of the Members of the Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Ministerial Service are in Cardiff Bay. Citizens elect every four Members of the Assembly of the electoral district (AMs) for the National Assembly, with the individual constituencies for the Assembly being the same as for the British Parliament. All residents of Cardiff have an extra vote for the electoral region of South Central Wales.
As the capital of Wales, Cardiff is the main engine of the economy of the country and its economy together with that of the adjacent areas mean 20% of the Welsh GDP, in addition 40% of the workers of the city arrive daily from the surrounding areas of the south of Wales.
For centuries the industry has played the most important role in the growth of the city. The main catalyst for the transformation of a small town into a large city was the demand for coal for the manufacture of iron and later steel, taken to the sea by draft horses from Merthyr Tydfil. A 40-kilometer long canal was built from Merthyr (510 feet above sea level) to the Taff estuary in Cardiff, and finally the Taff Vale railway replaced the canal barges and large classification centers appeared. the new port that developed in Cardiff (caused by the huge demand for coal from the valleys of south Wales).
At this point, the port, known as Tiger Bay, became the busiest and for some time the most important coal port in the world. In the years leading up to the First World War, more than 10 million tons of coal were exported annually from Cardiff In 1907, the Coal Exchange of Cardiff (the market where coal was exchanged) was the first place where a agreement for a value of one million pounds sterling After a period of decline, the port began to recover the growth trend again (around 3 million tons of different loads passed through its doors in 2007).
Today, Cardiff is the main financial and business center of Wales, with a strong representation of financial and business services in the local economy. This sector, combined with Public Administration, Education and the Health sector represents 75% of the growth of the city's economy since 1991. Companies such as Legal & General, Admiral Insurance, HBOS, Zurich, ING Direct, The AA , Principality Building Society, 118118, British Gas, Brains, SWALEC Energy and BT, all operate from their offices in Cardiff. Other major companies are NHS Wales and the National Assembly of Wales. On March 1, 2004, he received the status of a just city.
This place is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United Kingdom, with around 12 million visitors in 2006.48 This is reflected in the fact that one in five employees is engaged in retail or hospitality, reflecting the growth of the tourist industry of the city. There are a large number of hotels, providing almost 9000 beds.
Most shopping and shopping areas are located in the historic center, between Queen Street and St. Mary's Street, with shopping centers located in Cardiff Bay, Culverhouse Cross, Newport Road and Pontprennau, along with the markets of the center of the city, Splott and Leckwith. A program of regeneration of St. David's Center, valued at 675 million pounds, was launched, and when completed in 2009 it will have an area of 130,000 m², one of the largest in the United Kingdom.
Cardiff is the headquarters, in turn, of the media industry such as the BBC of Wales, S4C and ITV Wales, all with studios in the city. In particular, there is a large independent television sector with around 600 companies, employing some 6,000 workers and with estimated billings of 350 million pounds.
The city is immersed in several regeneration projects such as the aforementioned extension of St. David's Center and the surrounding areas of the city center, as well as the creation of the International Sports Village (the Olympic Village) of Cardiff Bay that was part of The 2012 London Olympics. Contains the only Olympic-sized swimming pool in Wales and the Cardiff International Pool that opened on January 12, 2008.
In Cardiff there are several remarkable buildings and buildings that highlight the history of the traditional past with the modernity of the present and the buildings of the future. The latter include the Millennium Stadium, the Red Brick Pierhead Building, the Millennium Center of Wales and the National Assembly of Wales. However, it has numerous buildings of great historical value such as Cardiff Castle and Llandaff Cathedral. The center of the old city has been and is the heart of the town, where there are still seven commercial galleries of the Victorian era. In contrast, Cardiff Bay is the site chosen for Bay Pointe, a complex under construction of ten modern apartments, which boasts being in it building the tallest building in all of Wales.
Cardiff Castle is the largest tourist attraction in the city and is located in the heart of the metropolis, close to the shopping area of Queen Street and St. Mary's Street. It was built in 1091 and renovated during the Victorian era by the third Marquis of Bute, who through the architect William Burges incorporated neo-Gothic style towers, while the Llandaff Cathedral is located in the center of the city, at the near the Castle and Central Station. Built in the thirteenth century, although founded by San Teilo in the sixth century, it has undergone several reforms, the most recent being the one carried out after the Second World War, after its central nave was badly damaged. The National Museum of History in St. Fagans is a large open-air museum that reviews the history and culture of the Welsh people. The St. Fagans Castle, where the museum is housed, was remodeled into a late Victorian mansion.
The Civic Center of Cathays Park comprises a collection of Edwardian public buildings (style generally less ornate than Victorian architecture) built in the center of the city, at the beginning of the 20th century, where the City Hall and the Museum of Fine Arts stand out, with the The most important impressionist collection in the world after Paris. These buildings were built in the wake of the prosperity that the area experienced, due to the large coal exports. These include the aforementioned Cardiff City Hall, the National Museum and Gallery of Cardiff, the Crown Court of Wales and the buildings that are part of the University of Cardiff. These buildings surrounded by a small green space contain the Welsh National War Memorial, a monument in memory of the victims of the First and Second World War, and other small memorials.
Other of the most important tourist attractions are the regenerated sites of Cardiff Bay, in which you can find from typical 19th century port buildings to modern and avant-garde constructions. Among which we can highlight the recently opened Wales Millennium Center; the Senedd (Welsh word for the Senate); the Barrage of Cardiff Bay, where a lake and a 12 km boardwalk was created with all kinds of restaurants, shops, parks and leisure areas; and the Coal Exchange, the old market where coal was exchanged. Also worth mentioning is the New Theater, founded in 1906 and completely renovated during the 1980s. Until the construction of the Millennium Center in Wales in 2004, this theater was the first place in Wales for dance and theater companies. Other locations where shows are usually held, such as concerts, are the Cardiff International Arena, St.David's Hall and the Millennium Stadium.
Cardiff has routes around the city of special interest for tourists and hikers, such as the Paseo Centenario, which travels 3.7 kilometers from the city center and passes through most of the most emblematic and characteristic areas and buildings.
Located in the narrowest part of the coastal plain of South Wales, Cardiff had a crucial strategic importance in the war between the Normans (who had occupied the lowlands of Wales) and the Welsh who maintained control of the highlands of the country . As a result of this, Cardiff boasts the highest concentration of castles in the world.
The second most important castle, behind Cardiff Castle itself, is the Castell Coch (Welsh word for "Red Castle"). It is an elaborately decorated building under the Victorian style by the third Marquis of Bute, in the nineteenth century, through the architect William Burges (both were the same that reformed the Castle of Cardiff). It is located in the forest of Tongwynlais, on the outskirts of the city and was built in the same place where the ruins of a 13th century fort were located. The exterior of the castle has been the subject of numerous recordings for films and television productions.
Despite having these two fortresses optimally preserved, Cardiff maintains the remains of Twmpath Castle, Bishop's Palace and Castle St. Fagans, while the site of Treoda (or Whitchurch Castle) has been rebuilt.
In Cardiff there are four major institutions of university education: Cardiff University, founded by the Royal Charter in 1883 as University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, is a member of the Russell Group of leading research universities; the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC) achieved university status in 1997; The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama is a conservatory established in 1949 that is adjacent to Cardiff Castle. For its part, the University of Glamorgan has a campus in Cardiff, the Atrium, which is home to the Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries. The total number of students enrolled in college or higher in the city reaches 30,000.The city also has two additional education colleges: Coleg Glan Hafren and St. David's College, although additional education is offered in most schools. institutes of the city.
The University of Cardiff.
Cardiff has eighteen state elementary schools, eleven nursery schools, ten schools for children and twenty secondary schools. There are also several independent schools, including the Llandaff Cathedral School, Kings Monkton and Howell's School, a uniquely female school (up to sixth form). Other important centers are Whitchurch High School (the largest in Wales), Fitzalan High School (which is one of the largest multi-cultural state schools in the United Kingdom), and Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf, one of the largest secondary schools in the United Kingdom. country.
As well as academic institutions, it owns other education and learning organizations such as Techniquest, a science center with franchises throughout Wales, which is part of the Wales Gene Park in collaboration with the University of Cardiff, NHS Wales and the Welsh Development Agency ( WDA, Agency for the Development of Wales.) Cardiff also has the largest regional office of the International Baccalaureate Organization.
Cardiff's most popular sports are rugby and football. The best-known rugby team in the city is Cardiff Blues, which played its games at the Cardiff Arms Park until 2009, with a capacity of 12,500 spectators. Now the team plays in Cardiff City Stadium. There is also a rugby league team, the Cardiff Demons, as well as several other amateur teams.
The Millennium Stadium, with capacity for 74,500 spectators.
For its part, Cardiff City FC represents football and is popularly known as the Bluebirds (the "Blue Birds"). They play their home games at Cardiff City Stadium (at Ninian Park until 2009) and, despite being a Welsh team, Cardiff City participates in the English Barclays Premier League. In addition, the club premiered stadium in 2009 to share with the Cardiff Blues. The city has several local football teams, very modest and playing in the Welsh league competition system.
Other sports that arouse interest in the population are cricket and ice hockey. Cricket is represented in the city by Glamorgan CCC, which plays at SWALEC Stadium. The Cardiff Devils is the ice hockey team.
The Millennium Stadium represents the most important sports building in Wales. It is the largest folding roof stadium in the world and was the second in Europe to obtain that quality after the Amsterdam Arena, where the national teams of rugby and football play their home games. After its construction it was erected as the largest stadium in the United Kingdom with its 74,500 spectators all seated, but was recently overcome after the finishes.
Cardiff is connected to the outside by land, sea and air. Its infrastructures have an airport, highways, rail, buses and maritime services.
The Cardiff International Airport is located 19 kilometers southwest of the city, exactly in the town of Rhoose. The site has a passenger volume of between 1.5 and 2.2 million annually, among the most frequent destinations are Spanish coastal cities such as Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Barcelona and Malaga, Scotland, Ireland, England and Holland. There are also some transatlantic charter flights to the United States, the Caribbean or South America, with excellent access by trains and buses.
It also has a heliport located in the Tremorfa district, which is owned by the Cardiff City Council. Although it originally served as the operational base for the South Wales Police, the heliport can facilitate the transport of travelers, especially at sporting events and to the Millennium Stadium.
The main railway station in the city is Cardiff Central, located in Central Square, southwest of the city center. It is the largest and busiest station in Wales and the tenth in the United Kingdom. Managed by Arriva Trains Wales, it connects the city with the most important points of the British Isles (London, Birmingham and Manchester, for example). The long distance routes are operated by the company First Great Western, which links the west and southwest of England with the west of Wales; and CrossCountry, whose line 5 connects it with Nottingham.
Cardiff Queen Street Station is the second busiest railway station in Wales. Also managed by Arriva Trains Wales, it serves mainly through Valley Lines to Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend and the South Wales Valleys.
The regulation of roads is the same as can be found in any country in the United Kingdom, that is, "M" motorway or highway, "A" major road or main road and "B" minor road or secondary.
The most important motorway is the M4, which connects the city with London, Reading, Swindon, Bath, Bristol and Swansea. The M5 connects with Birmingham and can be accessed through the M4 in Bristol, as in many other cities, vehicle traffic causes significant congestion at the entrances to the capital, and the City has created bus lines inside and outside the city. urban center. Following the London model, the City Council has revealed plans to impose additional charges for traffic congestion, but only once it has invested heavily in the public transport network of the city.
As for the main roads, the A48 (M) connects Cardiff and Newport, the A4232 is the road that distributes the traffic and the A470 connects the south with the north of the country starting in Cardiff Bay.