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Conwy & Castle, Wales

                                Medieval Walled Town of Conwy, Wales & Conwy Castle

Driving in from Manchester through the rolling countryside, you first see the majestic mountains of Snowdonia then the looming towers of the Conwy Castle come into view and dominate the landscape. The foreboding castle sits atop a rocky outcropping making it even more of a dominating but magnificent fortress.

I first entered Conwy through a gateway in the city wall that surrounds the old city. Even today the city wall with its many turrets, no less than 22, is intact and shelters the city on three sides with the Conwy River nestled against the city on the fourth side. 

The Conwy Castle certainly dominates the city, its massive size and the eight lofty stone towers speak to the military strength this Castle has possessed. The English King Edward I, after subduing Wales in a heavily fought conflict, decided to build a chain of castles in Wales to keep control of the Welsh. The site for the Conwy Castle was chosen by Edward I in 1283 while visiting the area and he commissioned James of St. George to construct the castle.   

Fifteen-thousand men labored for four years (1283 to 1287) building the castle and eight towers. The town walls

were constructed several feet thick and 30 feet high with three gates and 22 towers.  Through the centuries the castle has seen many conflicts.  In 1295 the castle was besieged by the Welsh, and in 1403 the rebels captured Conwy Castle using successful trickery as their weapon.  As with many castles through the years it was abandoned and fell into disarray. The castle was called into action in 1642 when there

was civil war. However, in 1646 the parliamentary army fought for three months to finally capture the Castle. Later it was partially destroyed to prevent the royalists from ever using it again.

The Conwy Castle today is a major tourist attraction. Visitors can climb up  to the battlements to take in the breathtaking views of the Snowdonian Mountains and the beautiful country landscapes.  From this high vantage point you can also look down and see the Great Hall now carpeted with a blanket of green grass. This is a marvelous spot to take pictures of the city walls and pick out the special landmarks in the city. From here you can also get a good view of the pedestrian suspension bridge that is now part of the castle.

In Conwy old town you will find a number of buildings that have been preserved. One of the best is Plas Mawr, the finest surviving Elizabethan town house in Britain, built between 1576 and 1585 for Robert Wynne, a successful Welsh merchant. The home has been carefully restored to its original glory. In great contrast, over on the quayside is the smallest house in Britain. You can't miss it, as it is tiny but painted bright red. This house measures 6 feet across and 10'2" high. The story goes that it was last occupied by a very tall fisherman in 1900 who had to leave by request of the city fathers due to a pressing health hazard (it smelled!).  There are other restored houses and St. Mary's church to visit plus small narrow streets to wander.  Have a great time exploring!

Information researched from
several different resources
including but not limited to
the internet, guide books,
stories from various guides
and personal visits.


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