Thursday, August 2, 2018

Things to do in Wales

Everyone that’s been to Wales tells the same exact thing, it’s a beautiful country full of luscious greeneries, fairytales like castles and natural drama. There are a lot of fun outdoor activities – from its sandy beaches to its majestic mountain ranges; Wales is one country that literally goes down in the history of humankind. Its stories had been told in many ancient monuments and museums. The bold and the brave, travel to Wales to find its romantic charm captivating. Castles and different monuments are its biggest attractions, while some go in for a more adventurous journey. Wales is a country full of wonderful natural sceneries. Here are some of the most notable castles and grounds to visit in Wales.

Caernarfon Castle

Built as a military stronghold between 1283 and 1330 and designed by Master James of St. George from Savoy, Caernarfon Castle functions, the Caernarfon Castle was the center of the government and a royal palace. Its ancient walls and tower were extraordinary and remain as one of the most complete and impressive castles in Britain. The charm of the 5th-century architecture of Constantinople in Istanbul still echoes of its color bonded masonry. Its polygonal towers are reminiscent of the ancient tales of the influence of early civilizations.

If only walls can talk, the castle can tell much of its many murder plots of the nobles and known heroes of the ancient times. In 1404, it repelled the army of Owain Glyndŵr's with only 28 men. The castle had endured and resisted three sieges during the English Civil War before succumbing to Cromwell’s army in 1646. With such great history and architecture design, Wales had well preserved its beauty, however, empty it may seem.

The Eagle Tower remains as the best place to start your journey. Its entrance marked with one flagpole to the right and turrets where you can spot the weathered eagle, where it gets its namesake. Inside there are exhibits about Eleanor of Castile and the Welsh version ‘Game of Thrones’. On the other side the castle known as the Queen’s Tower, you will find Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers with different exhibits showcasing many uniforms, medals, weapons, and other historical displays.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct & Canal World Heritage Site

Thomas Telford, a Georgian engineer built the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in 1805 to carry the canal over the River Dee. Measuring about 307 meters long, 3.6m wide, 1.7 meters deep and standing at 38 meters high, this engineering marvel of that time is the highest canal aqueduct ever built on the entire UK. Because of its feat, considering the resources and machinery available at that time, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During 18th-century horse-drawn canal barge was the main mode of transporting goods but it was soon replaced with the introduction of the railway systems. Telford designed the canal to connect haulage routes between River Dee, Severn and Mersey. With these, he even built Horseshoe Falls to gather water for the canal from the River Dee. It used to carry drinking water from River Dee to the Hurleston Reservoir located in Cheshire. Today, its riverbank is a great place to have a picnic and to rest tired feet from all those walking.

Visiting this vertigo-inducing canal needs a head for heights, as you can walk in its paths for miles free of charge. There are blue-badge guides that offer guided tours near the aqueduct. You can also find canal boat rides which feature trips along the ‘stream in the sky’.

Great Orme Mines

The Great Orme Mines is the largest prehistoric mine ever discovered to date. Located near the top of Great Orme, it has a paved car park for visitors. The place is one of the most recommended places in Wales, wherein the 4,000 years old mine serves as a great important discovery in history. The mines run about 5 miles and were dug for over centuries using only stones and bones in search of copper. There’s a self-guided tour explaining about how rocks turned into copper at the smelting site which can last for about 45 minutes. You can also head further 200 meters down in its 3500-year-old tunnels to learn more about the ancient miners.

St David's Cathedral

Hidden behind high walls, St David's Cathedral is virtually invisible to all. Built within a 6th-century chapel, the cathedral dates from 12th to 14th century and emits an air of antiquity and deep historical importance. The unconventional site was chosen to protect the cathedral from Viking raiders, but it was ransacked more than five times. Weathered and in poor condition, Sir George Gilbert Scott made extensive works to stabilize the building.

Once you entered the wall, the stone walls of the cathedral come into view. Its beauty and atmosphere emit reminiscent of the ancient times. The cathedral has four pointed ethereal purple stone and a rich carving in its 16-century oak ceiling adorned with pendants.

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