Caernarfon Castle, located at the mouth of the River Seiont on the North Wales coast, is perhaps the most architecturally impressive and imposing of all the castles in Wales.
It dominates the skyline thanks to a dynamic building style that emphasises sheer scale above all else. Important enough to have been officially designated a World Heritage Site, the castle makes use of large polygonal towers, rather than the standard round construction, and colour-coded bands of stone to create a truly imposing edifice.
The site of Caernarfon Castle has been chosen for fortification ever since a Roman fort was built there, with the ease of access to both the river and the sea beyond making it a strategically important spot. The Caernarfon Castle seen today was built in 1283 by King Edward as a mark of his conquest of Wales. The size and scale of the castle was no accident, as it was also built as the seat of Welsh government and the royal palace, as well as a purely military construction.
The historical and symbolic importance of Caernarfon Castle was emphasised in 1284, when Edward I ensured that his son, the first English Prince of Wales, was born there. This event was referenced in 1969 when the investiture of Charles, the current Prince of Wales, took place there in front of a worldwide TV audience of millions.
The castle is open throughout the year, with the exception of the Christmas period, and, as well as the ramparts, towers and stone passages of the building itself, it houses exhibitions, historical artefacts and the museum of the Welsh Fusiliers.