The Welsh National Media and National Assembly for Wales are based in Cardiff, which in 2011 was ranked 6th in the world in National Geographic’s alternative tourist destinations following over 18 million visitors in 2010.
Until the early 1800s Cardiff was a small town, growing with the importance of its port in the transport of coal with the arrival of industry in the area, it became a city in 1905 and the capital of Wales in 1955. Cardiff has seen a lot of development since the 90s including a waterfront area at Cardiff Bay, where the Senedd building, home to the Welsh Assembly, and the Wales Millenium Centre arts complex are.
Through the centre of Cardiff the River Taff flows into the freshwater lake of Cardiff Bay, together with the River Ely. Entering directly into the Severn Estuary, Cardiff’s third river flows through the east of the City.
Home to the Welsh media and the UK's largest film, TV and multimedia sector outside London with BBC Wales, S4C and ITV Wales all having studios in the city, Cardiff is close to Rhondda Cynon Taff, where the first completely new film studios in the UK for 30 years were built, named Valleywood. Apparently the BBC intends on doubling media output from Cardiff by 2016.
Of its many landmark buildings, Cardiff’s most well known are the Millenium Stadium, St David’s Hall, Llandaff Cathedral, the Wales Millennium Centre and Cardiff Castle which is a major tourist attraction and cultural site in the heart of the city centre. At St Fagans, the National History Museum is a big open air museum with lots of buildings from Welsh history. In the European Capital of Culture 2008 Cardiff was named as a finalist but instead, Liverpool hosted the event.
Cardiff is home to St. Mary Street and Cardiff Bay which are both well known areas for their lively bar and club scene and lots of restaurants. Cardiff hosts many high profile sporting events at all levels. In 2009 it was awarded the title of European City of Sport in recognition for the city’s commitment to sport.