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Cardiff Castle

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Castillo de Cardiff - Cardiff Castle

Published by Claudia Romeo — 7 years ago

Now this here is one quirky, eccentric, and very cool castle. Let's start with the standard requirements: The castle has plenty of history, as you can clearly see it was constructed on top of a Roman fort. Just a friendly reminder that using what seems today ridiculously primitive technology, Rome projected power all the way to Wales.

Ideally, you'd like some medieval influence next, both as a reminder of how desperate medieval Europe was to keep connected to a dimly-remembered Roman past and to show the Norman connection to the UK... and you get a well-preserved Norman fort within the castle, with spectacular views of Cardiff and the Welsh countryside.

Some sort of defining feature to show the "lived in and much modified through the years" nature of the castle? The foundation of a massive wall that once divided the entire grounds in half does the trick. Perhaps you'd like an eccentric millionaire who apparently decided he was going to personally embody the entire Victorian era in his home? Yours to enjoy, including a magnificent Arabic-themed room and a library that had me drooling with its homage to classical languages.

And to top off an amazing experience, you might wonder how you could find evidence of a desire to restore a long-sublimated Welsh culture to prominence despite the fact that Wales was conquered by England so long ago that independence in the manner now being considered by Scotland is simply out of the question. Besides attempts to restore the Welsh language (which frankly, appears to this non-native to be a series of random consonants interspersed with all the "Ys" left over from all English prose ever written), the castle also features a monument to the Welsh who have died in various military actions, with a placard that quite angrily emphasises that Wales is the only member of the UK which does not have its own national war memorial. It's moving and bemusing all in one.

And apropos of nothing else, as an added bonus, the castle also has a ground-level passageway that served as an air raid shelter during World War II. The air raid sirens and other effects were a bit heavy-handed, but did serve as a reminder that the city was very much a target as well.

So you'll not find a more eclectic mix of things to experience in one spot anywhere. Highly recommended across the board.

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