Blaenau Ffestiniog is a town in Gwynedd, North Wales. The town was once the capital of the slate industry in Wales. At the beginning of the 19th century, Ffestiniog was a 'small, poor village' with a few isolated farmsteads, and sheep were as important as slate to the early pioneers. Slate eventually became the basis of the wealth in Snowdonia and Blaenau Ffestiniog became the centre of the industry. The industry prospered and Blaenau Ffestiniog became the "town that roofed the world", and when entering the town through the usual grey damp mist via the Crimea Pass you could be forgiven for thinking that this was the town that sits on the roof of the world.
The town is set in an elevated natural bowl between the Manod and Moelwyn Mountains of Snowdonia. Despite being geographically in the centre of the Snowdonia National Park, the grey slate waste tips that surround the town prevented it from being officially included in the national park. Today slate extraction employs only a fraction of its former labour force, (4000 men in the 1880's), but the town has to some extent reinvented itself as a tourist destination with two quarries offering trips into the massive underground caverns built by the slate workers. ....
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