When visiting the city of Cardiff, the first and most obvious place to visit is the Castle. Built in approximately 50AD, the Roman Fort is the original heart of the castle; now the Norman Keep after being re-built in 1091 by the Normans; but since renovation and expansion the castle has built up over 2,000 years of history. The castle has been home to many noble families and consequently many prisoners; the most famous being William the Conqueror’s son Robert Curthose; but the most notable family was the Bute family of which the castle became their home in 1766 up until the 1930’s. Since then it has belonged to the city of Cardiff and has taken it’s place as a tourist attraction. The castle boasts the original fort which still stands today and once the 200+ steps have been climbed, a beautiful view of the castle and the city can be seen. The view from the top shows how the castle fits in with the city and how new meets old, with the castle but metres away from the impressive and modern Millenium Stadium.
As a tourist attraction in Cardiff, the castle attracts thousands, sometimes millions of visitors each year. But aside from this, the castle also provides an ideal location for filming. The most recent being ‘Doctor Who’.
‘Doctor Who’ used the Wartime Tunnels in the castle, because despite being hundreds of years old, they are still in excellent condition and the length of them gives The Doctor plenty of room to run! The castle is perfect for any ages and most races. There is an audio tour which gives you a brief history of different sections of the castle and grounds which can be obtained free of charge. When walking around the castle apartments, there are notes in several languages that give a history of the individual rooms.
As well as the history for the older children and adults, the younger children can enjoy the castle too. They can see where ‘Doctor Who’ was filmed and explore the castle and it’s grounds. Whilst sitting on the grass in the sun and perhaps enjoying a picnic, the buildings make great drawing material for the children. Below are some examples displayed in a newsletter.
The castle sits authoritatively next to the dominant Millenium Stadium. This juxta-position of the two buildings next to each other illustrates how new meets old in the city of Cardiff. The 2,000 years of history of the castle is in binary opposition to the new stadium at only 12 years old. In much the same as the castle, the stadium attracts a wide range of visitors; from rugby fans to ‘Take That’ fans; young and old. Despite the stadium not long embarking on it’s history-making, it still makes an impact on the city of Cardiff. From a great amount of locations within the city, the large white arms loom above buildings; even the castle; and can seem to be touching the walls of neighbouring structures.
Another local attraction in Cardiff is the National Museum. An old but beautiful building, the museum is the setting for more juxta-posing of new and old together. The museum displays contemporary work such as ‘Wildlife Photographer of the year 2010’ alongside older works like that of Graham Sutherland. A new exhibition of Graham Sutherland’s work opens at the museum on 11th June.
As mentioned in the article, ‘Doctor Who’ has also filmed at the museum as well as Cardiff Castle. ‘Doctor Who’ is a recurring theme for the city of Cardiff, with many city locations used as a backdrop for filming.
Another building in the new meets old of the city, is the Cathedral. An un-assuming building that fits into the city with the greatest of ease, yet with a 200 year history and still a relevant building today.
The city of Cardiff has recently built a new city library. The library was opened in 2010 and now describes itself as ‘not just a place full of books but a cultural experience’. The library has upgraded and modernised, yet still performs the functions of an old-fashioned library. Whilst there are many books, there are also computers, audio books, CD’s, DVD’s, listening hubs, video rooms, meeting rooms, children’s level and a reading and relaxation area. The library has become a more predominant feature for the community. The library is a further example of new meets old; the old function of a library and it’s books meets the new cultural and community functions within the library. Whilst the library is a new building doing some old things, the city hall is an old building doing new things. The city hall is an impressive Edwardian building and, like the castle, belonged once to the Bute family. The city hall relinquished it’s duties as a place for the council to meet and now the council chambers can be hired for various events such as wedding receptions, press conferences and meetings. The assembly room can also be hired out and is used for community events. The rooms in the city hall boast rich architecture and show how the city hall was once a powerful building within the city. Both the library and city hall are old traditions, but seem to be changing as they develop their place within the new or old parts of the city.
The library and city hall are often locations for events. These events are open to and attract the local and surrounding community. They are inclusive to everyone. The upcoming event at the library is a dance festival.
New and old are considered binary opposites, however the city of Cardiff suggests that binary opposites can work together both in contrast and also to complement each other. Cardiff is a city with years of history, yet it still has a a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The history is a part of the city, but it does not impact on the contemporary parts of the city. There is something for everyone; young, older, history lovers or people wanting to watch an event. The city really does combine the past and the present and they exist perfectly as one and are there for whichever you may want to discover, whenever you want to discover it. This photograph sums up Cardiff’s new meets old perfectly: