Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 18.3 million visitors in 2010.The Cardiff Urban Area covers a slightly larger area outside the county boundary, and includes the towns of Dinas Powys and Penarth.) is the capital and largest city in Wales and the eleventh-largest city in the United 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.Current developments include the continuation of the redevelopment of the Cardiff Bay and city centre areas with projects such as the Cardiff International Sports Village, a BBC drama village, Sporting venues in the city include the Principality Stadium (the national stadium for the Welsh rugby union team), Sophia Gardens (the home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club), Cardiff City Stadium (the home of Cardiff City football team and the Wales football team), Cardiff International Sports Stadium (the home of Cardiff Amateur Athletic Club), Cardiff Arms Park (the home of Cardiff Blues and Cardiff RFC rugby union teams) and Ice Arena Wales (the home of Cardiff Devils ice hockey team).The city was awarded the title of European City of Sport twice, due to its role in hosting major international sporting events: first in 2009 and again in 2014., and was perhaps also driven by folk etymology (dydd is Welsh for 'day' whereas dyf has no obvious meaning).Little is known about the fort and civilian settlement in the period between the Roman departure from Britain and the Norman Conquest.
In addition to serving an important political role in the governance of the fertile south Glamorgan coastal plain, Cardiff was a busy port in the Middle Ages due to its location on the Bristol trading routes, and was declared a Staple port in 1327.
Although some sources repeat this theory, it has been rejected on linguistic grounds by modern scholars such as Professor Gwynedd Pierce.
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.
This furthermore led to the town gaining a reputation for piracy, which by the Early Modern period led to much dispute between the burgesses of Cardiff and the surrounding county families.
A writer around this period described Cardiff: "The River Taff runs under the walls of his honours castle and from the north part of the town to the south part where there is a fair quay and a safe harbour for shipping." During the Second English Civil War, St Fagans just to the west of the town, played host to the Battle of St Fagans.