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Great Britain map - Wales, Scotland and England

 

                    Wales National AnthemOwain Glyndwr - the real Prince of WalesSt David (Dewi Sant) - Patron Saint of WalesThe National Eisteddfod of Wales - the oldest festival in Europe

  Celtic Wales    .... is an inspirational, culturally rich nation which shares the island of Great Britain with Scotland and England. The border which separates Wales from England closely traces "Offa's Dyke", a 149 mile trench construction established in the 8th Century. The thriving culture of Wales follows in traditions which can be sourced to the Dark Ages - some of the world's oldest customs were first practised here in ancient times by Welsh druids. Many natives of Wales speak a mother tongue widely acknowledged as the oldest surviving language in Europe - the celebrated Welsh language is a thousand years older than English and can still be heard spoken in Welsh communities to this day.

The country of Wales has the highest concentration of medieval castles and ancient monuments in the world, including the U.K.'s first stone built castle at Chepstow. Some of the most magnificent castles in Britain - notably Caernarfon, Conwy, Pembroke, Harlech and Kidwelly - were strategically constructed overlooking Welsh coasts and are therefore set in spectacular land and seascapes. Caerphilly Castle, near Wales's capital city of Cardiff, has a unique double moat and a tower which out-leans the tower of Pisa!

Caerphilly Castle, southern Wales. Photograph copyright the webmaster, Pete Rogers

  Caerphilly Castle, Wales

Wales is a land of witchcraft and dragons, with a legacy of colourful mythology and renowned supernatural mystery. Welsh culture and identity has been characterised down the centuries by Celtic myth, legend and fantasy. Wales is the accepted birthplace of Merlin (the legendary magician to King Arthur) and many scholars agree that the ancient Celtic King held round table in Wales. He existed during the era historically associated with Welsh folklore, which describes a lost magical kingdom when sleeping dragons, trolls, Kings, knights and chivalry co-existed. Caerleon, one of the Welsh towns associated with King Arthur's court, was in earlier times a very significant Roman garrison, and includes remains from the largest Roman amphitheatre outside Italy.

It was from south western Wales that the famous Bluestones of Presseli were mysteriously transported - by the Welsh - to Stonehenge in England! At this time the island of Great Britain was a wholly Celtic country. Near the Presseli hills, the dramatic west Wales coastline of Pembrokeshire is the U.K.'s only sea facing National Park. There are three internationally significant National Parks in Wales, including spectacular Snowdonia which contains the highest mountain range in southern Britain.

Swansea, on the southern coast of Wales, blends a bayside maritime city concept with some of the most breathtaking parklands and inspirational sea landscapes in Europe. This was the location of the world's first passenger railroad service, birthplace of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and where the Gower peninsular became the U.K.'s first designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty"; follow Swansea Bay and the Gower coastline leads you to a promised land of timeless castles and awe inspiring ocean vistas!

  the Water Splash, Hendy, Gower, Swansea, Wales

  Pennard Castle, Gower, Swansea

    the Water Splash, Hendy, Gower

  Pennard Castle, Gower, Swansea, Wales

The people of Wales are by nature passionate, expressive and creative - famous for singing, acting, storytelling, politics and poetry. Wales is renowned as "the Land of Song" and is particularly famous for the finest massed choirs; Wales has also given birth to vocalists Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and Charlotte Church. Highly acclaimed Welsh screen actors the calibre of Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton, Ray Milland and Catherine Zeta Jones are justly world famous.

The Welsh have made an historical contribution to the world in varying ways :

The Captain of "The Mayflower" was born in Wales

The world's first working steam locomotive ran on a nine mile stretch of track at Merthyr Tydfil, Wales in 1804. Richard Trevithick's four wheel engine hauled ten tons of iron and 70 people before the track plates broke under the weight !

St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, was Welsh by birth (according to legend) !

( Patrick was born and was subsequently kidnapped from Banwen, Wales. - our own Patron is St. David )

Mount Everest was named after a Brecon man !

The first game of lawn tennis was played in 1873 at Nantclwyd Hall, Clwyd, north Wales !

A Welsh mathematician, from Tenby, invented the "equals" sign =

The first place of Christian worship in U.K. was Llantwit Major, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and similarly the first UK Cathedral was St. David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales

The Welsh invented the longbow - the world's first armour piercing weapon

The northern hemisphere's longest place name is located at Anglesey, northern Wales.

The town is called: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Up to half the signatories to the U.S. Declaration of Independence had Welsh ancestry, including Thomas Jefferson !

With such a profound sense of self-identity and a colourful, ancient heritage powered by some of the world's oldest traditions, Wales is a nation soaked in a unique human spirit. Our nation is partly independent, governed by the National Assembly for Wales, the first indigenous Welsh Parliament since Prince Owain Glyndwr's administration of 1401, which has instilled a rejuvenated self-confidence in the people of Wales.

          

                            

     Flag of Wales - the red Welsh dragon, "Y Ddraig Goch" 

The red Welsh dragon "Y Ddraig Goch" owes its origins to folklore and Arthurian legend. Originating from a serpent representing the Welsh God Dewi, Celtic King Arthur was said to have had a dream about a red dragon (symbolically representing Wales) which slayed a white dragon (which represented the Saxon invaders). In later times a crude red dragon design was adopted by Prince Llywelyn of Gwynedd in the 7th Century and taken into battle by Welsh hero Prince Owain Glyndwr in conflicts with the invading English. In later history, at the Battle of Bosworth, Welsh-born King Henry VII (Henry Tudor, crowned 1485) unfurled the red dragon, which he in turn had adopted as his own emblem. As such, the beloved red dragon has always represented the defiant Welsh nation; iconising Wales's unique cultural and historic heritage as a proud and ancient nation which has long survived external threat. The Welsh dragon is often associated with the motto, "Y Ddraig Goch a ddyry Gychwyn" - or "The red dragon will show the way".

                           

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the full flavour of Wales

Wales is a country shrouded in mystique and an indefinable magic. One of the most ancient countries on the planet, the Celtic Welsh have been established on this land since 600 BC, where some of the world's most prehistoric human and animal remains have also been discovered. The sense of belonging to all of our histories hangs in the air and the answers seem to lie somewhere within the mysterious Welsh hills themselves. Wales is an ancient land of castles, magic, witchcraft and legends. Wales is a nation of tradition, music, inspiration and poetic creativity. The Welsh are a people of romance, charisma and warmth. Even the landscape is distinctively Welsh, the geography has been seemingly shaped to fit the intriguing folklore or certainly carved by the bloodstained events of a turbulent history.

Every country claims to be a place of surprises, but Wales uniquely engages the imagination with a potent blend of panoramic mountain views, jagged cliffs & magnificent sandy coasts; timeless stone monuments and an intriguing dichotomy of contrasts - medieval and contemporary, cosmopolitan and indigenous, serene landscapes backdrop bustling city streets. There is an intoxicating Celtic atmosphere which appeals to every sense and on all levels  - consequently, Wales is a very difficult place to leave!

 

The proud Celtic nation - of Wales

BLAENAFON, WALES is a Welsh valley town officially designated with WORLD HERITAGE status for its contribution to the early development of IRON manufacture. 17th and 18th Century Wales was the global catalyst of the  INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. Blaenafon joins north west Wales' spectacular collection of MEDIEVAL CASTLES as World Heritage sites.

 

south Wales Gallery !

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       Click here for Swansea - Maritime city of WalesClick here for the spectacular bays of Gower PeninsularHome to Swansea, Walesthe unique heritage of our bayside city .....Click here for Dylan Thomas biography .....

                                                        

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