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Film on Wales to open U.'s '03-04 travel series

Screening, at Kingsbury Hall, is Monday night

Fishguard, Wales, is the fishing village that was the filming location of "Moby Dick," starring Gregory Peck.
Fishguard, Wales, is the fishing village that was the filming location of "Moby Dick," starring Gregory Peck.
Frank Klicar

Frank Klicar's film on Wales will open the 2003-04 season of the University Travel Film series tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus.

Wales, on the west coast of Britain, is probably the least known part of the United Kingdom, but it is also a treasure trove of history. The travelog shows Caerleon, where remnants of a Roman garrison town founded in 75 A.D. include a large amphitheater and bath house.

The Normans invaded Wales in 1067 and built several castles to control the frontier. Skenfirth castle and Chepstow castle, both on the banks of the River Wye, may be among Britain's earliest stone castles. The reconstructed village of 11th century Cosmeston shows what life in medieval times was like.

Cardiff is Wales' largest city. Once a shipping port for coal and iron, it is mainly an administrative center as the capital of Wales, now a semiautonomous state of Great Britain. The Rhondda Valley north of Cardiff was the source of much of that coal, which fueled the industrial revolution in the 19th century. The Big Pit Mine, which closed in 1980, is now a museum, and former miners take visitors on a tour of the mine shafts.

The valley of the River Wye runs along the eastern edge of Brecon Beacons National Park. In the valley is Tintern Abbey, dating from 1131, and Monmouth, birthplace of Henry V. You can tour Brecon Beacons on a narrow gauge railway, one of the "great little trains of Wales."

The town of Brecon in Mid-Wales is the heart of the agricultural region, where a cattle auction is held weekly. Most farmers, however, raise sheep, and sheep shearing is a common sight in the area. Many also run bed and breakfast inns for guests to enjoy life on a Welsh farm.

Wales is home to artisans as well as sheep farmers. The travelog visits the studios of sculptor John Tasker, master wood turner Alan Cunningham and potter Phil Rogers.

Mid-Wales is served by a canal system built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Horse-drawn boat rides through some of the most charming countryside in Wales operate on the Llangollen Canal.

In Northern Wales is the town of Denbigh, with its ruined castle and the birthplace of explorer Henry Morton Stanley. Northern Wales has several great castles including Caernarfon, where Prince Charles was crowned Prince of Wales in 1969. And in the town of Conway is the 16th century home of a local merchant, considered the best-preserved Elizabethan era house in Britain.

Snowdonia National Park is one of the country's scenic highlights. The Blaenau Ffestinog Railway runs through the park.

The fantasy village of Portmerion, built in the 1930s and used as the set for a TV series, is now a resort, tourist attraction and home to Portmerion pottery.

The travelog will also visit Swansea, the second largest town in Wales and the birthplace of poet Dylan Thomas, whose home, studio and gravesite are a short distance up the coast.

Films are open to the public and season tickets are available by mail, phone or from the Kingsbury Hall ticket office. Call 581-7100. You can also purchase tickets to individual shows. A free shuttle provides service between Kingsbury Hall and Rice/Eccles Stadium parking lot beginning at 6:30 p.m.