Churches and sacred institutions
St. David’s Cathedral
The Welsh national saint, St. David, was buried near the small town of St. David. In his honor, the imposing church was built there, which makes St. Davids the smallest cathedral city in Great Britain. The largest Christian church in all of Wales dates back to the 12th century, but has structural elements in its shape, the youngest of which date from the 19th century. The church is worth seeing just because of the crooked columns and the floor. The latter has an unevenness that reaches up to 3.5 meters. The cathedral is separated from the structural remains of the bishop’s palace by the small brook Alun.
Tintern Abbey ruins, near Wye Valley
The ruins of Tintern Abbey, an abbey whose origins date back to the 12th century, are located by the River Severn in the Wye Valley. The once flourishing church became meaningless after the conquest of Wales by the English and its assignment to the Anglican Church in the 16th century. Then it fell into ruin.
After the Celtic missionary St. Teilo founded a monastery in Llandaff in the 6th century and this was destroyed by the Vikings around 915, a cathedral was built on the same site in the 12th century. Unfortunately, only the south and north portal of this old church have survived, because the Gothic church had to be restored and redesigned several times in the course of its existence – most recently after the Second World War.
Ruins of Cymer Abbey, near Dolgellau
The ruins of the former Cistercian monastery Cymer Abbey, which was established in 1199, are located near Dolgellau. Only parts of the east window, the arcade of the church (13th century), part of the south wall and the remains of the cloister and the refectory have been preserved from the earlier building.
St. John’s Church, Cardiff
Cardiff ‘s Church of St. John the Baptist rises majestically on the city’s busiest shopping street. The oldest parts of the church go back to the 12th century, although the current church was largely designed in the second half of the 15th century. In 1897, its characteristic church tower was renewed, which you can climb today. The interior of the church inspires, among other things, with the up to 200 year old mosaic windows and the finely carved altar panel.
St. Mary, Chepstow
Chepstow’s main church was dedicated to Our Lady. The actually Norman church received its present form in more modern times. It used to serve as the religious center of the city and also combined a school and a monastery under its roof.
St Paul’s Holy Trinity Church, Sketty
The church, consecrated in 1850, originally served the city of Swansea and later the Sketty community as a place of Christian worship.
St Woolos Cathedral, Newport
This church, which has been the cathedral of the Anglican Church since 1949, stands on the site where a Christian sacred building had already risen around 500, but which was destroyed in the 11th century. Today’s cathedral was built under the rule of the Norman kings, but had to be rebuilt after being destroyed in the 17th century.
Cardiff University, which is particularly research-oriented and currently has around 31,000 students, has its roots in 1883, when it was founded as the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire. It has only had its current name since 2004.
Snowdonia National Park
The park covers an area of 2,170 square kilometers and is known for its spectacular mountain ranges and its exciting landscapes. The name of the park, founded in 1951, comes from the highest mountain in Wales, the 1,085 m high Mount Snowdon. In contrast to other national parks, approx. 70% of this park is privately owned: The approximately 26,000 people living in the park mainly farm in the park, which consists mainly of mountains and open spaces.
Mount Snowdon (1085 m) is the highest mountain in Wales and is very popular with mountaineers and hikers. The easiest way to climb the mountain from the town of Llandis is via the Llandis Track (8 km).
Brecon Beacon National Park
This national park was established in 1957 and covers an area of 1,344 square kilometers. It is one of the three national parks of Wales, along with Snowdonia National Park and Pembrokeshire. The park impresses less with its fauna than with its impressive landscape, from which the Pen y Fan rises at 886 meters. Worth seeing in the park is the village of Craig-y-Nos, where there is a Victorian country house from 1840, which was the first British private house to be supplied with electricity. Nowadays it is used as a hotel and bar. In the village of Trapp you come across the ruins of the “Carreg Cennen Castle”, which, according to legend, was built by one of King Arthur’s knights – Sir Urien. But it “only” dates from the year 1248. A special feature is the Brecon Mountain Railway, a railway line that starts from Merthyr Tydfil and whose wagons are pulled by a steam locomotive. Incidentally, the route leads along the Taf Fechan (Pen Twyn reservoir) into the center of the park.
Cadair Idrid, near Dolgellau
The Cadair Idrid massif near Dolgellau has five peaks, the highest point being at 892 meters and being called Pen-y-Gadair.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
As the name suggests, the 620 square kilometer park is located on the coast of the Irish Sea and was opened in 1952. It is known for its breeding colonies for various sea bird species. The park includes the islands of Skomer or Caldey; in the north of the park are the Preseli Hills. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path runs from St. Dogmels in the west to Saundersfort in the east of Pembrokeshire. The hiking trail can be tackled well in twelve days, with campsites, bed and breakfasts and youth hostels available for overnight stays. The cliffs of Pembrokeshire National Park offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic.