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Wales / Уэльс


The Welsh people call their country Cymru ['kimru]. Wales is the land of rocks, mountains and valleys. There is a region in the high Cumbrian Mountains called Snowdonia. Its scenery is the pride of Wales. Snowdonia is named after the highest peak of these mountains – Snowdon at 1,085 metres above sea level.

The largest cities in the south of Wales are Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. The greatest concentration of people lives in these cities. Cardiff is the principality's capital and the main seaport and Swansea is its industrial centre. Cardiff has been the capital since 1955.

The largest town in the north of Wales is Wrexham.

The Welsh language is spoken widely, especially in the north of the country. It is one of the Celtic languages. It is still the first language for many people.

Wales is often called "the land of song". The Welsh people, especially in rural ares are fond of poetry, singing folk songs and playing the harp. There are a lot of choirs in Wales.

The Welsh are great storytellers. You will hear tales of King Arthur and Merlin the Magician, of kingdoms lost beneath the sea and battles between dragons, of haunted castles and knightly deeds.

Each of the major periods of history has left its mark on Wales, some more attractive than the others. Wales is "the land of castles". And the Normans were the first to build castles here.

Wales is famous for Eisteddfod [ai'steðvɔd]. It is the largest and oldest festival of Welsh culture, which is held every year in different areas of Wales. "Eisteddfod" literally means "a sitting" ("eistedd" in Welsh is "to sit"), perhaps a reference to the hand-carved chair traditionally awarded to the best poet or musician in the ceremony "the Crowning of the Bard".

Eisteddfod is actually an association of poets, writers, musicians, artists and individuals who have made a significant and distinguished contribution to the Welsh language, literature, and culture. Competitions of bards and singers take place during Eisteddfod. Its members are known as druids who wear long robes. Their leader is always a poet. The colour of their costumes – white, blue or green – is indicative of their various ranks.

St. David is the Patron Saint of Wales. March 1st is St. David's Day, the national day of Wales and has been celebrated as such since the 12th century.

Wales has two national symbols – the daffodil and the leek.

The proud and ancient battle banner of the Welsh is called the Red Dragon and consists of a red dragon on a green and white background.


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