Wales is located on a peninsula in central-west Great Britain. The entire area of Wales is about 20,779 km2 (8,023 square miles). It is about 274 km (170 miles) long and 97 km (60 miles) wide. Wales borders by England to the east and by sea in the other three directions: the Bristol Channel to the south, St George's Channel to the west, and the Irish Sea to the north. Together, Wales has over 965 km (600 miles) of coastline. There are several islands off the Welsh mainland, the largest being Anglesey in the northwest.
The main population and industrial areas are in South Wales, consisting of the cities of Cardiff, Swansea and Newport and surrounding areas.
Much of Wales's diverse landscape is mountainous, particularly in the north and central regions. The mountains were shaped during the last ice age, the Devensian glaciation. The highest mountains in Wales are in Snowdonia, and include Snowdon, which, at 1085 m (3,560 feet) is the highest peak in England and Wales. The 14 (or possibly 15) Welsh mountains over 3000 feet high are known collectively as the Welsh 3000s. The Brecon Beacons are in the south and are joined by the Cambrian Mountains in mid-Wales, the latter being given to the earliest geological period of the Paleozoic (Cambrian). Consequently, the next two periods, Ordovician and Silurian were named after Welsh/Celtic tribes from this area.
The modern border between Wales and England is highly arbitrary; it was largely defined in the 16th century, based on medieval feudal boundaries. It has apparently never been confirmed by referendum or reviewed by any Boundary Commission (except to confirm Monmouthshire as part of Wales in 1968). The boundary line follows Offa's Dyke only approximately. It separates Knighton from its railway station, virtually cuts off Church Stoke from the rest of Wales, and slices straight through the village of Llanymynech (where a pub actually straddles the line).
The Seven Wonders of Wales is a traditional list of seven geographic and cultural landmarks in Wales: Snowdon (the highest mountain), the Gresford bells (the peal of bells in the medieval church of All Saints at Gresford), the Llangollen bridge (built in 1347 over the River Dee), St Winefride's Well (a pilgrimage site at Holywell in Flintshire) the Wrexham steeple (16th century tower of St. Giles Church in Wrexham), the Overton yew trees (ancient yew trees in the churchyard of St Mary's at Overton-on-Dee) and Pistyll Rhaeadr (Wales's tallest waterfall, at 240 feet or 75 m). The wonders are part of the traditional rhyme:
Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple,
Snowdon's mountain without its people,
Overton yew trees, St Winefride wells,
Llangollen bridge and Gresford bells.
Highest maximum temperature: 35.2°C (95.4°F) at Hawarden Bridge, Flintshire on 2 August 1990.
Lowest minimum temperature: -23.3°C (-10°F) at Rhayader, Radnorshire on 21 January 1940. 
See also: List of towns in Wales
For administrative purposes, Wales has been divided since 1996 into 22 unitary authorities:
" 9 counties
" 10 county boroughs
" 3 cities1 - Cardiff, Swansea and Newport.
For more details and recent history of the political divisions of Wales, see Subdivisions of Wales.
1: There are five cities in total in Wales - in addition to the three unitary authorities listed above, the communities of Bangor & St. David's also have the status of a city. St. Asaph also sometimes claims city status, but the government considers that its city status has lapsed.
Parts of Wales have been heavily industrialised since the eighteenth century. Coal, copper, iron, lead, and gold have been mined in Wales, and slate has been quarried. Ironworks and tinplate works, along with the coal mines, attracted large numbers of immigrants during the nineteenth century, particularly to the valleys north of Cardiff. Due to the poor quality soil, much of Wales is unsuitable for crop-growing, and livestock farming has traditionally been the focus of agriculture. The Welsh landscape, protected by three National Parks, and the unique Welsh culture bring in tourism, which is especially vital for rural areas.
Light engineering is still an important activity in the main population areas of the South and extreme North-East, but the economy, as elsewhere in the UK, is now focused on the service sector.
Main article: Welsh food
About 80% of the land surface of Wales is given over to agricultural use. Very little of this is arable land though as the vast majority consists of permanent grass or rough grazing for herd animals. Although both beef and dairy cattle are raised widely, especially in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, Wales is more well-known for its sheep farming, and thus lamb is the meat traditionally associated with Welsh cooking.
Welsh food is usually made from local ingredients. Some traditional dishes include laverbread (made from seaweed), bara brith (fruit cake), cawl cennin (leek stew), Welsh cakes, Welsh rarebit, and Welsh lamb. A type of shellfish, cockles, is often served with breakfast.
Demographics of Wales as at the 2001 Census:
" Population: 2,903,085, Male: 1,403,782 Female: 1,499,303
" Percentage of the population born in:
o England: 20.32%
o Wales: 75.39%
o Scotland: 0.84%
o Northern Ireland: 0.27%
o Republic of Ireland: 0.44%
" Ethnic groups:
o White: British: 95.99%
o White: Irish: 0.61%
o White: other: 1.28%
o Mixed: white and black: 0.29%
o Mixed: white and Asian: 0.17%
o Mixed: other: 0.15%
" Indian/British Indian: 0.28%
" Pakistani/British Pakistani: 0.29%
" Bangladeshi/British Bangladeshi: 0.19%
" Other Asian: 0.12%
o Black: 0.25%
o Chinese: 0.40%
o Percentage of the British population self-identifying as Welsh: 14.39% (controversially, there was no question on the Census form asking this - people had to write this in).
o Christian: 71.9%
o Buddhist: 0.19%
o Hindu: 0.19%
o Jewish: 0.08%
o Muslim: 0.75%
o Sikh: 0.07%
o Other religion: 0.24%
o No religion: 18.53%
o Not disclosed: 8.07%
o The largest single denomination of Wales is Calvinist Methodism, which by far is the largest single denomination, followed by the Roman Catholic Church (Eglwys Catholig Rufeinig) and the Episcopalian (Anglican) Church in Wales (Eglwys yng Nghymru) with 3% of the population each, and the Congregationalist Union of Welsh Independents (Undeb yr Annibynwyr Cymraeg) and the Presbyterian Church of Wales (Eglwys Bresbyteraidd Cymru) with 1% of the population each.
" Age structure of the population:
o 0-4: 167,903
o 5-7: 108,149
o 8-9: 77,176
o 10-14: 195,976
o 15: 37,951
o 16-17: 75,234
o 18-19: 71,519
o 20-24: 169,493
o 25-29: 166,348
o 30-44: 605,962
o 45-59: 569,676
o 60-64: 152,924
o 65-74: 264,191
o 75-84: 182,202
o 85-89: 38,977
o 90+: 19,404
" Knowledge of the Welsh language:
o Percentage of the population aged 3 or more knowing spoken Welsh only: 4.93%
o Percentage of the population aged 3 or more speaking Welsh but not reading or writing it: 2.83%
o Percentage of the population aged 3 or more speaking and reading Welsh but not writing it: 1.37%
o Percentage of the population aged 3 or more speaking, reading, and writing Welsh: 16.32%
o Percentage of the population aged 3 or more with some other skills combination: 2.98%
o Percentage of the population aged 3 or more with no knowledge of Welsh: 71.57%
" In Gwynedd, Anglesey, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, Welsh speakers are in the majority.
" Gwynedd has the highest proportion of Welsh speakers, but Carmarthenshire has the highest number of them in any one principal area.
o According to www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/uk.html, 26% of the population are knowledgeable of Cymraeg.