Wales, United Kingdom

Wales [we ɪ lz], Welsh Cymru [ kœmru], part of the country of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 20,735 km 2, (2015) 3.1 million residents; The capital is Cardiff.


According to internetsailors, Wales comprises the western peninsula of the island of Great Britain (British Isles), as well as the island of Anglesey. The mountainous region (Cambrian Mountains), which consists mainly of Paleozoic rocks and was shaped by the Ice Age, is framed over long stretches by high plateaus, some of which slope down to the sea with cliffs up to 90 m high. Lowland areas are found mainly on the south and south-west coasts. The coast’s climate is mild (5.5 ° C in January, 16 ° C in July); the mountains are covered with snow in winter. The annual amount of precipitation is 900–4,000 mm, depending on the altitude.

Population and Religion

The hill country in the middle is sparsely populated (population density in Powys: 26 people per km2). The population is concentrated in the main economic regions in the south and north. The most important urban centers with the port and industrial cities Swansea, Newport and the capital Cardiff are in the old industrial area of ​​South Wales; almost two thirds of the Welsh people live here. In addition to English, only around 19% of the population speak Welsh (Kymrisch).


Since the 1950s, traditional industries, especially coal mining, steel and zinc sheet industries, have declined sharply and have since disappeared from the industrial landscape with the exception of a few modernized plants. The new industrial structure that emerged as part of regional planning measures is determined by vehicle construction, vehicle accessories, electronics, metal processing, electrical and pharmaceutical industries, including a large number of foreign companies. FDI is playing an increasingly important role in the Welsh economy. However, some of the offshoots of multinational corporations have already closed in the recent past. The employment rate in Wales is 75.1% for men and 69.9% for women. With a little more than 26% of the workforce and a 32% share of the gross domestic product, industry is still of major economic importance. 71% of the workforce is employed in the service sector; the areas of public administration, health and education are important. Due to its mountainous landscapes and numerous sandy beaches, Wales has become a popular holiday destination (especially for British visitors). – Pasture farming with cattle and sheep farming predominantly determines the image of agriculture. At the higher altitudes, the cool and humid climate and nutrient-poor soils usually only allow wild pastures to be used as land. They take up almost a third of the agricultural area, otherwise grassland and arable land.

Wales, United Kingdom


Cardiff [ k ɑ ː d ɪ f], Welsh Caerdydd, capital of Wales and independent unitary authority, seaport at the mouth of Flagstaff in the Severnästuar, 140 km 2, (2015) 357 200 residents (agglomeration 459 600 people); catholic archbishop’s seat; several universities, college for music and theater; National Museum, Howard Gardens Art College and Gallery.

The economic development of Cardiff began with coal mining and export (first docks in 1839, at times the largest coal export port in the world for the mining area “The Valleys” to the north). Today Cardiff is a service center (finance, healthcare, tourism) and also has metal processing, machine and vehicle construction, food industry, brewery; a dam (“Cardiff Bay Barrage”, 1999) is used to revitalize the port; international Airport.


The castle, renovated in the second half of the 13th century, fell into disrepair in the 17th century and was restored and reconstructed in a historicizing style from 1865–1920. Llandaff Cathedral, founded in the 12th century and mainly built in the 13th century, later fell into disrepair; In 1734 J. Wood the Elder built an “Italian temple” within the church walls; after severe damage in 1941, the cathedral was rebuilt. As a result of urban growth in the late 19th century, the Law Courts and City Hall were built in 1904, and the University College, founded in 1883/84 by 1909. In the modern metropolis, numerous new buildings set urban accents, including the Saint David’s Hall convention center and especially the Cardiff Bay area, which has been expanded since the beginning of the 1990s to an area of ​​around 1,100 hectares of the no longer required port area. With the Wales Millennium Center, which opened in 2004 and designed by Percy Thomas Architects, a modern landmark was created here. To the west of Cardiff is the Saint Fagans open air museum.


The Norman Cardiff Castle was built in 1093 at the site, which had already been fortified in Roman times, around which the city developed. Cardiff remained a small city until the 19th century (1801: 1,900 residents). After 1850, the expansion of Cardiff into a coal export port led to strong economic growth and thus to rapid growth of the city.