Thursday, April 28, 2011

Castell Caerdydd

One of the things I was most excited about seeing in Wales a castle. Here in the states the oldest homes we have are only about 200 years old, maybe 300 for the earliest settlements. And while I love doing things like touring old Southern Plantations, they just do not hold the history and the allure of a castle.

A fucking CASTLE.

I don't know why, but it blows my mind. And the best part was I actually ended up getting to see three of them! Swansea castle is located in the heart of Swansea, but it's really just the ruins of the castle that once stood there. Oystermouth Castle is located in Mumbles, but I only got to see it from a distance because it's closed for repairs and renovations. But Cardiff Castle - Castell Caerdydd in Welsh - did not let me down!

Walking up St. Mary's Street you can see the castle in the distance. The road is lined with Welsh flags, which have dragons on them. How badass is that?
From outside the castle walls

Because I'm a total nerd, I listened to my audio guide as I explored every nook and cranny of the castle grounds. I learned quite a bit. For example, the castle started as a Roman fort around 55 AD and eventually the Normans built the keep (pictured above) at the end of the 11th century.

In the 17th century, the castle was acquired by the Bute family, one of the wealthiest and well known families in Cardiff and all of Wales. They built this Gothic inspired Victorian mansion in the 1860s.

A prayer room inside the mansion.

Inside looking out.

A sculpture commemorating all the unknown Welsh warriors and soldiers throughout the ages.

Inside the keep.

The stairs leading up to the very top of the keep.

Oh hey, tourist!

Walking inside the battlements.

The castle was donated to the city of Cardiff in 1947 and has been a working museum and attraction since then. Apparently they have concerts - Green Day played in 2002! - and every year Cardiff University holds their summer ball there. Just to put that into perspective for you, Northeastern's annual formal dance is held at the Marriott in Copley Square. Not. Fair.

In conclusion, I would just like to state for the record that I would live here, inside this castle, if I could. Thank you.

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