Durban City Hall
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Showpieces at the Natural Science Museum include a dodo skeleton and an Egyptian mummy
With its flamboyant neo-Baroque architecture and coppered dome, you can hardly miss the impressive Durban City Hall (also known as the eThekwini City Hall).
Despite being more than a century old and dwarfed by surrounding modern skyscrapers, the building remains a grand example of Edwardian neo-Baroque architecture and well worth a morning's visit.
The City Hall was built in the early 1900s due to the rapid growth of Durban. City centre changes resulted in the original town hall taking on a new mantle as the Durban post office.
The city fathers commissioned a new town hall in 1903, choosing what they termed a 'bold and progressive' design submitted by architect Stanley Hudson.
Hudson set about creating a replica of the Belfast City Hall in Northern Ireland, which served as his inspiration.
His legacy is a stone-coloured structure adorned with sculptures portraying the arts, commerce, music, literature and industry, while the main pediment sculptures are representative of unity, patriotism and Great Britain.
In addition to the mayor's parlour and municipal chambers, the building houses a public library, auditorium, and the Durban Art Gallery and Natural Science Museum behind its gracious façade, which makes it a 6-in-1 attraction.
The art gallery showcases an array of South African and international artworks, while the museum displays a selection of fossils, animals, birds, reptiles and insects.
In keeping with its imposing exterior, the building's interior décor features wooden flooring, stained-glass windows, wrought-iron balustrades, marble pillars and classic arches.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Durban City Hall
Tel: +27 (0) 31 311 1111
Durban Art Gallery
Tel: +27 (0) 31 311 2264/9
Natural Science Museum
Tel: +27 (0) 31 311 2256