As well as being the capital of Wales, Cardiff is also home to more than a third of Welsh people, with an estimated 1.1m people living within the metropolitan area. It became a city in 1905, being granted the status by King Edward VII, but was only proclaimed the capital of Wales in 1955. Thanks to its vast population, Cardiff is the centre for the majority of Wales’ political, commercial and cultural activities, with the Welsh Assembly being based in the city since its creation in 1998.
The city’s rich history saw it under the control of two of England’s greatest invaders – the Romans and the Normans – who left their mark in the form of Cardiff Castle. It now remains much intact since being rebuilt almost 1000 years ago on the site of the original Roman structure. Attractions such as this, the country’s National History Museum, and the impressive architecture around Cathays Park saw Cardiff pull in 14.6m visitors in 2009, making it the biggest tourist destination in Wales.
Cardiff’s footballing pedigree has undergone something of a renaissance since the turn of the millennium. Cardiff City saw their heyday back in the 1920s, securing two FA Cup appearances – with one winners medal – and finishing as First Division runners-up. Having fluctuated throughout the leagues during the rest of the 20th century, Cardiff have been making progress in the Championship since 2003.
This followed them dramatically securing promotion via the play-offs inside the Millennium Stadium, just a mile from their home ground, and have been moving towards Premier League promotion ever since. This game came in the midst of a plethora of top class football matches at the Millennium Stadium as, thanks to the closing of Wembley Stadium and its subsequent rebuilding in 2001, was the host of the FA Cup, League Cup and Football League play-off finals until April 2007. It is also the home of the Welsh national side.