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Last Updated: Monday, 29 September, 2003, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Tourism joins shopping at market
Swansea Market
There has been a covered market in Swansea since 1652
The largest indoor market in Wales has kicked off its annual food festival with a drive to promote itself as a tourist attraction.

Many visitors to Swansea will know the market for its seafood stalls selling cockles and laverbread fresh from the Gower coast.

But now more is being made of its history and importance to the city with permanent signs and panels aimed at enticing day trippers and holidaymakers into the glass-roofed hall.

They were unveiled on Monday morning as a week-long programme of cookery demonstrations, recitals and competitions got underway.

Until now there has been little permanent information profiling the value and importance of this site
Swansea tourism department

There has been a covered market in Swansea since at least 1652, although the current hall did not open until 1961.

Tourism officers say not enough has been done to promote the market's history in the past.

A spokeswoman for the city's tourism department said: "Whilst Swansea Market is hugely important as a shopping centre, its sheer size and rich history mean that it is also a visitor attraction in its own right.

"As such, it is internationally renowned, but until now there has been little permanent information profiling the value and importance of this site.

Fascinating insight

"The new interpretation panels have been designed to address this.

"They will provide a fascinating insight into the market and extend a warm welcome to all who enter."

The bilingual panels have been erected at each entrance depicting a different topic such as the history of the market, its structure, shopping and the cockle industry.

Throughout the week chefs from some of Swansea's best known restaurants and hotels will be passing on tips and encouraging people to get creative with locally produced produce.

On Monday they were concentrating on seafood dishes with Tuesday set aside as a meat-free day.

Wednesday will promote recipes from around the world with Thursday designated Dylan Thomas day.

There will be prizes for people who share their first name with the poet while recitals of his work will be held in the food hall.

On Saturday there will be activities for children.

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