The ultimate symbol of medieval military might, Caernarfon Castle was built between 1283 and 1330, replacing an earlier structure from the 11th century. First and foremost it was designed to be a military stronghold for Edward I during his Welsh campaign, but also as a royal palace and a seat of government. The castle was built with spectacular polygonal towers, linked by a honeycomb of wall walks and tunnels, that were meant to resemble the famous 5th century walls of Constantinople. This design is believed to have helped later defensive campaigns; in 1404, an army of just 28 men were able to successfully fend off Owain Glyndwr's forces.
Prince of Wales
When tensions eased between the English and the Welsh, Caernarfon Castle lost some of its military importance. Yet the impressive castle is a celebrated triumph of medieval architecture, and today forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shortly after building work on the castle began, the future Edward II was born here. To strengthen his position in the country, Edward I made his son 'Prince of Wales' in 1301 - a title that has been used continuously ever since for the monarch's eldest son. The current Prince of Wales was also invested in the castle in 1969.