Wales is one of those countries many have heard of; some people think about; but few people know much about it. It’s one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland), and is bordered on the East by England and surrounded on all other sides by water. Its landscape is a vast expanse of mountains, forests, and valleys that cover most of its 8,016 square miles. It was once ruled by the Romans, has a seat in parliament, and boasts 4,122 miles of National Parks (more than half the country!) The landscape is incredibly impressive; here’s more about it.
As I previously mentioned, Wales is a generally mountainous place. Specifically, the North and Central regions are covered by mountain ranges, including Snowdonia, the Brecon Beacon, and Carneddau. However, the mountains do not reach impressive heights; the tallest peak, Snowdon, is only 3,360 feet. On all of its sides except for one is water: St George’s Channel, the Irish Sea, the Celtic Sea, and the Bristol Channel. In one direction, it rests directly aside England. In it’s extensive rural area lives around 1/3 of the entire Wales population. Along the coastline are dozens of beaches; notable ones include Barafundle Bay (Pembrokeshire), Rhossili Bay (Swansea), and Three Cliffs Bay (Swansea). As a tourist location, Wales has some popular travel spots, too.
If you enjoy visiting National Parks, Wales is the place to go; literally over half of it is National Park. Snowdonia National Park, much of the Snowdonia Mountain Range, provides rugged hiking as a recreation. Brecon Beacons National Park could be used likewise, as well as climbing for the more physically demanding traveller. Wales is also famous for its collection of primarily medieval castles, including Caefron Castle, Conwy Castle, and Cardiff Castle, located in the capital city. Some date back to Roman rule, but the majority is circa 700s A.D., (the “Dark Ages”). Tourism is increasing in both urban and rural areas in Wales over the past decade.
Wales is a varied economy, speaking generally. Its GDP is good for it’s size: £47.3B ($79.937B), with a GDP per capita of £15,401 ($26,027). The currency Wales uses is the UK pound. Service industries, manufacturing, mining, and farm goods make up the majority of Wales’ economical activity. They have steelworks near Newport and in Port Tallod, and they make auto parts, chemicals, electrical equipment, and various plastics. For mining, they have coal and oil. Coal was once one of the most important pieces of Wales’ economy, but since the 1940s this area has been slowly declining. Their oil drilling is centered in Milford Haven and Pembroke. Their main employer is service industries, which started off with a bang during the prosperous industrial revolution. Wales has an employment rate of 67.1%, which is just below average for the United Kingdom overall. The largest companies include: Iceland...