Cardiff Castle in the capital of Wales was built over thousands of years and is an impressive mix of Roman fort, Norman castle and Victorian castle.
Cardiff Castle is located in the British city of Cardiff in the south-west of the UK and is one of our top 10 UK attractions. In the middle of the bustling capital of Wales, the medieval castle looks strangely out of place among crowded shopping malls and glass office buildings.
History of Cardiff Castle
Several wooden Roman forts with workshops were built on the site of today's Cardiff Castle as early as the year 55. The military camps were later fortified with walls up to three metres thick to protect the Roman Empire from raids from the sea.
About 1,000 years later, a medieval castle was built by the Lord of Gloucester and Conqueror of Glamorgan. Its remains are still visible today near the manor house. The foundations once housed a famous prisoner. After Robert II, son of William the Conqueror, attempted to overthrow King Henry I from the throne, he was imprisoned in Cardiff Castle until his death.
From the early 13th century the Norman castle passed through the hands of many owners until 1776 when it passed to the 4th Earl of Bute, who was henceforth called Baron Cardiff of Cardiff Castle.
Cardiff's heyday began with the Earl of Bute. Under his reign and that of his successors, the city became one of the largest coal ports in the world and the well-fortified castle became a castle-like mansion with magnificent Victorian-style decoration.
The moat was filled in and a castle garden was laid out, the building was rebuilt, extended around its five towers and modernised. The Knights' Hall became the library, dining rooms, smoking rooms, the Arabian Hall and other stylised rooms were created, all magnificently decorated with stained glass, murals and wood panelling.
Instead of the castle wall, the "Animal Wall" was built, a wall with elaborate stone animal heads, and the colourfully decorated bell tower of Cardiff Castle became a landmark of the city. A neo-Gothic castle was gradually built, and in the course of its construction the remains of the 1,700-year-old Roman military camp were also discovered. In 1947, Cardiff Castle had to be sold to the City of Cardiff by the 5th Marquess of Bute for a token pound sterling due to the high inheritance tax.
Visit to Cardiff Castle
The city of Cardiff turned the magnificent fairytale castle into a popular tourist attraction. In the visitor centre, exhibitions and video films provide information about the history of Cardiff Castle. A free audio guide takes visitors through the lavishly decorated interiors. Guided tours and audio guides are also offered especially for younger guests.
Concerts are given and sporting and cultural events are held in the imposing halls of Cardiff Castle. In addition to the magnificent rooms, Cardiff Castle houses the regimental museum "1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards". Cardiff Castle is surrounded by the magnificent Bute Park, designed by the famous English landscape artist Lancelot "Capability" Brown.