Bala is a market town of around 2,000 people located inside the Snowdonia National Park
in north Wales that straddles the A494 Dolgellau road. It was once within the old county of Merionethshire but is now part of the modern county of Gwynedd. The town lies at the northeast tip of Llyn Tegid - Tegid Lake, the largest natural lake in Wales - at the point where the water flows into a nearby stream; a feature which has given the town its name as as "bala" is the Welsh for ‘outlet from a lake’.
The town of Bala was founded by royal charter in 1309 by Roger Mortimer who marked out the street layout of the town in a series of square courts with one wide main street - "Stryt Fawr", the big street or High Street where the original markets were held. A castle was erected at one end of the town but all that remains is the castle mound - "Tomen y Bala" which is now a public garden.
Bala was once the stronghold of the Welsh Quakers, most of whom later emigrated to Pennsylvania, where they settled the city of Bala Cynwyd. Today it is one of the most Welsh speaking areas in Wales.
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