Between the calm waters of Swansea Bay and the stunning views of the Gower peninsula, the city of Swansea nestles amongst some of Wales' most memorable scenery.
Due to it's surroundings the city has become a hugely popular tourist resort - this generating much of it's revenue - and the whole bay area has profited from this influx. The National Eisteddfod, the quintessential celebration of all things Welsh, has been hosted by Swansea six times since the mid 19th century, and it is set to return in 2006.
Historically Swansea and the surrounding area has been settled since the Stone Age with visits from both Roman and Viking invaders over the centuries, but the city didn't achieve prominence until after the Norman Conquest - it was only the growth in coal mining all along the South Wales coast in the 16th and 17th centuries that brought true prosperity.
At the height of the Industrial Revolution the city became a crucial coal and limestone port, zinc, tin and copper from Devon and Cornwall were imported to it's smelting works, and Swansea begun to be known as 'Copperopolis'.
During World War 2 Swansea was heavily bombed, although the ruins of it's castle remained unscathed, so much of the town centre is of relatively recent construction. These days the city's industrial heritage has all but been shed, with heavy industry gone and the docks now a leisure park, but it now finds it's income through tourism and the hi-tech sector; Swansea is also home to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).
A few notable names have called Swansea home, the most locally beloved of whom is favourite Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, but others include: Catherine Zeta Jones, originating from the nearby village of Mumbles; ex-Goon Harry Secombe; even the present Archbishop of Canterbury.