Carmarthen the Oldest Town in Wales

By: Douglas Scott

Carmarthen is on the River Tywi it is the longest river which entirely runs through Wales and Carmarthen has a population of about 13,148. It is the oldest town in Wales and at one time had a population higher than Cardiff. The Welsh name Caerfyrddin, which means Merlins city. As legends have it, the wizard Merlin of Arthurian legend was born here.

As once the largest town in Wales, it retains some of its status because it lies at the centre of a region which has more Welsh speakers than any where else in Wales. It is a quiet and peaceful town and the air is clean and free from city smog.

Carmarthen hosts an extensive range of inns and pubs, and it serves a mixture of Welsh and English dishes. The Halliwell Theatre can seat 350, and regularly hosts some of the most promising new talent.

The town is a thriving commercial centre with modern and old and shops, in door and out door markets. Grey Friars Shopping Centre is in the heart of Carmarthen. The centre was opened in 1998 with some 24 retail units. The centre attracted almost four million visitors in 2006.

Trinity College is an associated college of the University of Wales. It was established in 1848 as a Church College to train teacher. It is located in the rural town of Carmarthen, Trinity College is a safe and welcoming place for students of all ages.

Gwili Railway Co. Ltd is a fantastic day out for the whole family the volunteer run steam standard gauge railway operates in the heart of Carmarthen. It relives the past on a full size steam railway, starting your day at Bronwyydd Arms station and then following the route, originally taken by the Carmarthen.

The castle at Carmarthen, on its rocky eminence over looks the River Twyi. The castle was converted into a prison in the 18th and 19th centuries. The town walls and four gates, the Augustinian priory and the Franciscan house of the grey friars, have all disappeared. The Castle was converted to use as a prison in the late 18th century.

Picton's monument was erected in 1828 and stood at the west end of the town, it was erected in memory of the gallant Sir Thomas Picton, who died in the Battle of Waterloo. It was about 75 foot high, and was similar to Trajan's pillar in Rome.

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