Seaport, capital of Wales (from 1955), and administrative centre of Cardiff unitary authority, situated at the mouth of the Taff, Rhymney, and Ely rivers; population (2001) 305,400. It is the seat of government for the National Assembly for Wales, which was established in 1998 following the Government of Wales Act passed by the British parliament. Industries are predominantly in the service sector, with 82% of the workforce employed in services, the largest of which are education, business services, health, and consumer services. Manufacturing has declined in importance, although electronics and motor components remain important industries.
The city dates from Roman times, the later town being built around a Norman castle. The castle was the residence of the earls and marquises of Bute from the 18th century and was given to the city in 1947 by the fifth marquis. Coal was exported until the 1920s. As the coal industry declined, iron and steel exports continued to grow, and an import trade in timber, grain and flour, tobacco, meat, and citrus fruit developed.
Cardiff grew into a major city when the docks on the Bristol Channel were opened in 1839. They were greatly extended by the second Marquis of Bute (1793-1848), and have now been redeveloped for industry. Cardiff became the largest Welsh town in 1881, and has remained thus.
The city's main function is as an administrative centre, and office employment has consequently expanded greatly. In Cathays Park is a group of public buildings including the Law Courts, City Hall, the National Museum of Wales, the Welsh Office (established 1964), and the Temple of Peace and Health, as well as part of the University of Wales.
Llandaff, on the right bank of the River Taff 3 km/1.9 mi to the northwest, was included in Cardiff in 1922; its cathedral (1120), virtually rebuilt in the 19th century and restored between 1948 and 1957 after air-raid damage in World War II, contains Jacob Epstein's sculpture Christ in Majesty. At St Fagan's 5 km/3 mi to the west is the Welsh National Folk Museum, containing small, rebuilt historical buildings from rural Wales in which crafts are demonstrated. The city is the headquarters of the Welsh National Opera. The 75,000-seat Millennium Stadium at Cardiff Arms Park was completed in time for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, as a Millennium Commission Landmark Project. It is the only stadium in the UK with a retractable roof. Cardiff Bay is the site of the National Assembly for Wales building.
A major part of the University of Wales is situated in Cardiff, including the Institute of Science and Technology, the National School of Medicine, and University College of South Wales. Cardiff Airport is at Roose, 19 km/12 mi to the southwest.
We're sorry this article wasn't helpful. Tell us how we can improve.