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|Blaenavon (Welsh: Blaenafon) is a
town and World Heritage Site in southern Wales, lying at the
source of the Llwyd River. The town lies high on a hillside and has a
population of around 5,000 people.
Blaenavon grew around an ironworks opened in 1788, part of which is now a museum. The steel-making and coal mining industries followed, boosting the town's population to over 20,000 at one time, but since the ironworks closed in 1900 and the coal mine in 1980, the population has declined, and now consists mostly of older citizens. The town is currently suffering because of lack of investment, as it is geologically uneconomical and unappealing for visitors. However attempts have been made recently to turn the town's image around by introducing it as Wales' second "book town" (the first being Hay-on-Wye), however after over a year of attempts to attract visitors it seems that it has not succeeded.
Attractions in the town include the Big Pit mining museum and the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway.