Wales is a lovely country with great mountains, situated to the west of England. Wales is a peninsula washed by sea from three sides: the Bristol Channel in the south, the St. George Channel in the west, the Irish sea in the north. Wales is bounded by England only. This country is the smallest part of the United Kingdom, it became its component in 1921.
The Welsh call their country “Cymru”, this word means ” friend”. The total area of the country is 8,017 thousand square miles and the population is about 3 mln people. This country is inhabited by the Welsh, whose language is considered to be one of the most difficult, because it has very long words. The Welsh surnames often begin with “Llan” Llanbers-for example. Welsh is taught at schools; road signs are bilingual. Officially Wales is divided into 13 counties. It has 3 regions: the Welsh Mountainous area, the Industrial South Wales and the Welsh Borderland.
The main rivers of the country are the Severn, the Dee, the Taff. The Welsh lakes are also a great attraction. There are many lakes in the mountains, and the lake Vyrnwy is considered to be the most beautiful.
The territory of the country is covered with the Cambrian mountains, the lowlands are near the coasts. The highest point in Wales is Snowdon, it is 1085 metres high. Snowdon gave its name to the surrounding Snowdonia National Park. Snowdonia is a lovely place, which is famous for its wild forests, quick rivers and high waterfalls. The highest waterfall in Wales is 70 meters high.
Now Wales is mainly the land of tourists, nearly 2 million a year. One can hardly forget the beautiful green hills surrounding the sea or golden cliffs of the west. Those who are interested in architecture can visit ancient castles and cathedrals. Many of the castles are now museums. They are considered the most beautiful buildings in the country.
But you must not think that Wales is the country of rest, tourists and pleasure. The Welsh are hardworking people. It is not easy to raise sheep in rainy climate, work in the field or at the chemical plant. Welsh people love their country and their strange, difficult language, old customs and traditions. Wales is known as a country of music and songs. It is impossible to imagine any Welsh village without a choir. The Welsh is the nation of singers.
Since the 12th century there is the annual poetic competition in the town Llangollen. This musical festival is called Eisteddfod. The national festival is held in August and the international one is in July to find the best poet, writer, musician of the country. The winner of the festival receives a crown.
For the tourists visiting Wales the most interesting souvenir is a Welsh love spoon, which is made of wood. It is made by young man as a love token for his sweetheart. If the girl keeps the present, she loves the man. If she sends it back she does not want this man.
The climate of the country is moist, rainy, it reflects the mountainous nature of the country. They have all sorts of weather, sometimes it rains, sometimes it snows, especially in mountains. The average temperature in winter is -5°C, in summer is +20°C.Moisture loving plants such as ferns, heather are found in Wales in greater abundance than in England. Characteristic of the trees are elm, chestnut, pine and oak.
The fauna of the country is not very rich. The number of wolves, deer is now decreasing. You can see on the territory of the country the fox, squirrel, hare, wild goat, mountain pony, badger. Seals and otters are on various parts of the coast. ‘River and lake fish stock includes trout, flat fish, cod. There are about 430 kinds of birds among them are dove, sea gull, hawk, duck, black grouse, heron etc. The country has 2 national parks.
The capital of the country is Cardiff (284 th.). It is one of the ancient cities, an important port and tourist centre. The other main ports of Wales are Swansea and Newport.
Wales has few mineral resources of which the most important is coal. Welsh coal is considered to be the best, but at the same time is very expensive. Other minerals of Wales are copper, lead, zinc, slate, lime stone, silver, gold.
South Wales is famous for its great iron and steel works, chemical plants and mines. Wales is a highly industrialized country. North Wales main industry is tourism. Sheep provide wool for local weaving industries. Woodworking, pulp and paper industries, electronics, information technology are also highly developed in Wales.
As for Welsh people, they are as a rule short, strong, dark-haired, they also have a reputation of good fighters and lovers of art, that’s why Wales is sometimes called ” Land of Song”. Usually when a Welsh man is away from his home he feels deep home sickness.
The saint patron of the country is St. David. And the 1 st of March is the Welsh national holiday. The daffodil is the Welsh national emblem of the country. Wales has its own flag called the Welsh dragon.