Once the biggest town in Wales, Merthyr Tydfil now ranks as thirteenth with a population of approximately 30,000. The name comes from the fifth century where the beautiful daughter of the Prince of Brychanoig was murdered at the Parish Church.
The town has a rich historical heritage. The Celts were the first recorded people in the land. During the Iron Age, hillforts were made and the Silures lived within them before the Romans came and destroyed almost everyone.
When the Romans fell a legend describes the rise of a Romano-British leader and fought against Saxon invaders. This man is believed to have united plenty small kingdoms. This story has evolved into King Arthur whom little is known about aside from local legend.
In the eighteenth century when the Industrial Revolution erupted on scene a huge ironworks was established in the area making Merthyr the Iron Capital of the World. Iron workers at that time suffered unimaginable cruelties and hardships. The collieries were not pleasant places to work and many men lost their lives.
After the Second World War the need for iron diminished drastically and collieries began shutting down. Both steel and ironworks have been greatly affected by the downsizing. There have been attempt over the years to improve the economic stability of the land but there are still areas that are financially disabled.
Poets in the area meet weekly and hold readings and there are music festivals throughout the year. A group in town is trying to change the Zoar Chapel into an Arts Center for the entire community to enjoy.
A Merthyr Youth Forum has been created to enlist local young people to invest in their community to ensure a brighter future.
Brecon Beacons National park is south of the town. There is much potential to see tourism pick up for the locals if they can market their town appropriately.
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