Wales is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. It is a principality half the size of Switzerland. It is situated in the west of mainland Britain, with England inland to its east and the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the west. Wales has a population estimated at three million and is a bilingual country, with English, the language spoken by the majority, and Welsh, the native tongue. Wales is a country of distinctive personality as seen in its signposts and craft workshops. Its important cities, such as Newport, Swansea, Abarythwyth, Coarnarton, and Rhyl, follow the coastline.
Wales is known for its divergent and often spectacular landscape, and tourism is popular throughout the land. It is a country of moors, gentle beauty, legends that haunt hillsides, castles, cottages, valleys, and isolated sheep farms. It is a mysterious land filled with bard poetry about wildlife and adventure. The rolling hills of Wales are interrupted in the north by craggy mountains dominated by mighty snow. In the north-west of Wales we can find, Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. Wales has 2 national parks. The first one, Brecon Beacons in the south, is a destination for walkers, fishermen, pony trekkers, and mountain bikers. The second one is Britain’s only coastal based national park: Pembrokeshire. It is in western Wales and full of sea cliffs, beaches, and coves.
The capital, Cardiff, is located in the more urbanized south-east. It’s Wales' largest city. Cardiff has been a prosperous city since the Victorian era, when it was the biggest coal port in the world. Today, it is a bustling city which is modern and rich in history. Due to the modernization, some people often accuse it of being too English.
Wales is a country rich in history, myth, and legends. The beginning of its history goes back about 4000 years to the Bronze Age, the time of the warlike Celtic tribes. Their spiritual leaders were druids, whose religious rights included human sacrifice. Throughout time, they were forced westward by Romans and Saxons. During the Norman Conquest after the invasion in 1066, castles were built along the borders to secure Norman possessions against the Welsh. Even after colonization and conquest, the spirit of the Celts has been living on for centuries. The myths and fantasies are only fit to be celebrated by song. Since the late 19th century onwards, Wales has acquired its popular image as the “land of song”. Vocal performers - actors, singers and speakers - are celebrated in Wales today, often attaining international success. The Welsh are known for their choirs and choir festivals such as Eisteddfod. Wales has in recent years undergone a cultural revival, and the rapidly-developing capital is the home of the largest media centre in the UK outside of London.