is the capital and largest city in Wales and the ninth largest city in theUnited Kingdom. The city is the country's chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales. The unitary authority area's mid-2011 population was estimated to be 346,100, while the population of the Larger Urban Zone was estimated at 861,400 in 2009. Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 18.3 million visitors in 2010. In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic's alternative tourist destinations.
Dinas a Sir Caerdydd
City and County of Cardiff
|City & County|
Clockwise from top left: The Senedd, Millennium Stadium, Norman keep of Cardiff Castle, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff City Centre, clock tower of City Hall and the Welsh National War Memorial
Archaeological evidence from sites in and around Cardiff—the St Lythans burial chamber, near Wenvoe (about four miles (6.4 km) west, south west of Cardiff city centre), the Tinkinswood burial chamber, near St Nicholas (about six miles (10 km) west of Cardiff city centre), the Cae'rarfau Chambered Tomb, Creigiau (about six miles (10 km) north west of Cardiff city centre) and the Gwern y Cleppa Long Barrow, near Coedkernew, Newport (about eight and a quarter miles (13.5 km) north east of Cardiff city centre)—shows that people had settled in the area by at least around 6,000 years before present (BP), during the early Neolithic; about 1,500 years before either Stonehenge or the Great Pyramid of Giza was completed. A group of five Bronze Age tumuli is at the summit of The Garth (Welsh: Mynydd y Garth), within the county's northern boundary. Four Iron Age hill fort and enclosure sites have been identified within Cardiff's present-day county boundaries, including Caerau Hillfort, an enclosed area of 5.1 hectares (51,000 m2).
Since local government reorganisation in 1996, Cardiff has been governed by The City and County Council of Cardiff, which is based at County Hall in Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff Bay. Voters elect 75 councillors every four years.
Between the 2004 and 2012 local elections, no individual political party held a majority on Cardiff County Council. The Liberal Democrats held the largest number of seats and Cllr Rodney Berman was Leader of the Council. The Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru formed a partnership administration. In the 2012 elections the Labour Party achieved an outright majority, after gaining an additional 33 seats across the city.