CARDIFF is the capital of Wales. It is the United Kingdom’s 11th-largest city. As Wales’ chief commercial centre, Cardiff is the base for the Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament, most national cultural institutions and Welsh media. At the 2011 census, the unitary authority area population was estimated to be 346,090, and the wider urban area 479,000.
Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 21.3 million visitors in 2017. In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic’s alternative tourist destinations.
Cardiff is the county town of the historic county of Glamorgan, and in 1974, South Glamorgan. Cardiff is part of the Eurocities network of the largest European cities.
A small town until the early 19th Century, its prominence as a major port for the transport of coal following the arrival of industry in the region contributed to its rise as a major city. In 1905, Cardiff was made a city and proclaimed the capital of Wales in 1955. In the 2011 Census, the population was 346,090. The Cardiff Built-up Area covers a slightly larger area outside the county boundary and includes the towns of Dinas Powys and Penarth.
Since the 1980s, Cardiff has seen significant development. A new waterfront area at Cardiff Bay contains the Senedd building (the Welsh Parliament) and the Wales Millennium Centre arts complex. Current developments include the continuation of the redevelopment of the Cardiff Bay and city centre areas with projects such as the Cardiff International Sports Village, the BBC drama village, and a new business district in the city centre.
Sporting venues in the city include the Principality Stadium — the national stadium and the home of the Wales national rugby union team — Sophia Gardens (the home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club), Cardiff City Stadium (the home of Cardiff City football team and the Wales football team), Cardiff International Sports Stadium (the home of Cardiff Amateur Athletic Club), Cardiff Arms Park (the home of Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC rugby union teams) and Ice Arena Wales (the home of Cardiff Devils ice hockey team).
The city hosted the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Cardiff was awarded European City of Sport due to its role in hosting major international sporting events in 2009 and again in 2014. The Principality Stadium hosted 11 football matches as part of the 2012 Summer Olympics, including the games’ opening event and the men’s bronze medal match.