Colloquially referred to as ‘Aber’, the Aberystwyth town is the main administrative centre of the Western coastal areas of Wales. It is situated close to the meeting point of the two rivers ‘Rheidol’ and ‘Ystwyth’ and serves as the primary holiday resort of the area.
The Aberystwyth town culturally links ‘North Wales’ and ‘South Wales’. It’s location in the midst of three mountains, and two vast beaches attract nature lovers and tourists who prefer a tranquil holiday. Once climbed, these hills present a spectacular view of ‘Cardigan Bay’. On a cloudless day, ‘Snowdon’, the tallest mountain in Wales, can be seen as well. The coastal areas also offer tourists a chance to observe ships docking into the local harbour, and a morning walk on the pier is considered most refreshing.
Upon the hilltop of ‘Pen Dinas,’ a massive fortification can be seen by those entering the town. It was built by the ‘Iron Age’ settlers long before the ‘Normans’ settled in the area. During the time of ‘Llywelyn, the Great’, Aberystwyth’s castle was built, which once ranked among the greatest castles in Wales. It is now, unfortunately, in ruins. Its closeness to the sea caused much of its deterioration. The ruins themselves were further destroyed by “Oliver Cromwell’s” policy enacted during the ‘Civil War’. It enabled locals to use the remains of the castle to build their homes.
Following the establishment of the public university for research, the ‘University of Wales Aberystwyth’ in 1872, the city became a university town, accommodating over 7000 students annually. It is also home to the ‘Welsh National Library’ which is one of the largest libraries for research in the United Kingdom, housing well over 6.5 million periodicals and books. Thus it holds memberships in the ‘Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL)’ and ‘Research Libraries UK (RLUK)’. The library is said to hold many rare books, one of them being the ‘first Welsh translation of the complete Bible’ published in 1588.
Aberystwyth town is particularly famous for launching the longest electric cliff railway in Great Britain. The trains climb the ‘Constitution Hill’ at the North point of the town’s promenade. The ride offers beautiful sights of over 26 mountain peaks, running from ‘Preseli Hills’ located in ‘Pembrokeshire’ in the South to the North, covering the ‘Snowdonia mountains’. At the summit, visitors encounter a cafe where they can rest and enjoy the view. The famed “Camera Obscura”, the biggest in the world, is also found at this summit. The area observed through the lens is projected onto a circular screen placed in a dimly lit viewing gallery.
For those interested in aesthetic programmes, the ‘Aberystwyth Arts Centre’ is the just the right place to visit. It has secured many awards and is the largest arts centre in Wales, acknowledged as a ‘national flagship for the arts’. All forms of artistic expression, such as dance, drama, visual arts, music, community arts, new media, film and applied arts are encouraged and presented at this centre.