Historic places of worship
Did you know?
Midrand's mosque is the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
South Africa's historic places of worship showcase the rich diversity of the country's many religions and beliefs.
You'll find some of the oldest and biggest of the country's historic places of worship in major cities where different cultural groups settled centuries ago. Others are tucked away in tiny villages.
One of South Africa's most famous – or infamous – churches is Soweto's Regina Mundi Catholic Church. Already known as a meeting place for oppressed victims of apartheid, on June 16 1976, the church became a refuge for young students demonstrating against the education system who were fleeing live bullets and tear gas. Today it's a favourite destination for visitors from all over the world.
St George's Anglican Cathedral in Cape Town, the oldest cathedral in southern Africa, is known as the People's Cathedral because it also played a vital role in the struggle against apartheid.
Auwal Mosque, South Africa's first mosque, which dates from 1798, is in Cape Town's colourful Bo-Kaap area. Not too far away is the Gardens Shul where the oldest Jewish congregation was founded in 1841. The complex now houses the magnificent Great Synagogue, regarded as one of the most splendid in the world, as well as the Holocaust Center and the Jewish Museum.
Another historic place of worship is the Alayam Hindu Temple in Durban, whilst the Juma Mosque, in Durban's central Indian district, is the 2nd largest in the southern hemisphere.
Not so imposing, but evocative and appealing, is Pella Cathedral in the Northern Cape, built in 1875 from drawings and plans in a contemporary encyclopedia by 2 German Catholic priests.
Half a century before that, Robert Moffat founded a London Missionary Station in the tiny town of Kuruman, also in the Northern Cape, where David Livingstone took up his first position as a missionary in 1841.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Regina Mundi Catholic Church, Soweto
Tel: +27 (011 986 2546
St George's Anglican Cathedral, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)21 424 7360
Gardens Shul, Cape Town
Tel: +27 (0)31 465 3533
Juma Mosque, Durban
Tel: +27 (0)31 304 1518
Tel: +27 (0)53 712 1352