Cardiff, (Welsh, Caerdydd), is the capital city of Wales, and lies at the mouths of the Taff and Ely rivers on the Bristol Channel. It is the largest city in Wales and is an important administrative, commercial, and industrial centre.
Cathays Park in the city centre contains the impressive baroque-style buildings of the Civic Centre begun in 1901, including the City Hall, the Welsh Office, Assize Courts, the Temple of Peace, and the National Museum of Wales. Close by is Cardiff Castle, reconstructed in the 19th century by William Burges for the Marquis of Bute. The Welch Regiment Museum as well as the Welsh School of Music and Drama are in the castle. Nearby is the 15th-century church of St John the Baptist. Llandaff Cathedral, with its modern Epstein, Christus, was founded in the 6th century; badly damaged in World War II, it has been completely restored. In the old docks area, the City has created "Europe's most exciting waterfront development" at Cardiff Bay incorporating restaurants, shops, museums, housing and a marina.
An early Roman outpost was established in c. AD 75. In the 11th century, a Norman castle was erected when Robert FitzHamon built a fort on the motte (fortified hillock) which today stands within Cardiff Castle's walls. A small market town developed close to the castle, and the town grew in importance as a market for the surrounding region. However, it was the Industrial Revolution, and the consequent need for coal, that was the impetus for Cardiff's growth and by the end of the 19th century Cardiff was the world's leading coal-exporting port.
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