Every town is unique, but Carmarthen is especially so, because of its blend of geographical location, long and varied history, culture, and role as county town. The town’s location, at the tidal limits and lowest bridging point of the River Tywi, made it the natural route centre for west Wales.
The river, once the town’s main artery, still supports the ancient craft of coracle fishing, which can be seen during summer months. Walk its bustling winding streets and you are literally following paths laid down perhaps twenty centuries ago. For Carmarthen was founded as a regional capital by the Romans.
A thousand years later, the conquering Normans once again recognised the importance of its strategic location. Here, English kings made their regional capital and administered it from within Carmarthen Castle. At Carmarthen Priory, one of the town’s two great monastic houses, the celebrated “Black Book of Carmarthen” was written - the oldest surviving manuscript in the Welsh language. The townspeople reflect this diverse mix, for it is the people who make the town what it is today with its relaxed intermixing of the Welsh and English languages. Carmarthen looks back with pride on its history, but it also looks forward, because it is very much a vibrant county town and modern shopping centre.