In a tower of Cardiff Castle, you’ll step into the unexpected: a harem-style Arab Room. This somewhat eccentric addition to the castle was constructed in the 1880s for the castle’s owner, John Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute. The fantasy Moorish design was inspired by the architect William Burges’s travels. Since described as pinnacle of his interior designs, the Arab Room is stunning even among the grand halls, gardens and wood-panelled library Burges also created at Cardiff Castle. Cardiff Castle itself dates back to at least the 11th century at the site of a Roman fort. Traces of the Roman wall can be seen within the grounds, as well as a Norman keep. When Crichton-Stuart moved in, he allowed Burges free reign in his passion for gothic and medieval design, mingled with romantic Victorian visions. Throughout the building you can see eclectic architectural and cultural influences under elaborate fantasy ceilings. William Burges died in April 1881, before the Arab Room was completed. In memorial, Crichton-Stuart had the words "John Marquess of Bute built this in 1881. William Burgess designed it" carved into the mantlepiece in Latin. See if you can spot it:
Check out the map below to see where to find Cardiff Castle, in the centre of Cardiff - the capital city of Wales. You can take in the key sights including the castle on the Cardiff City Sightseeing tour.