History & culture in Bloemfontein
Did you know?
In the early 19th century, the various Sotho clans were joined into a kingdom by the legendary King Moshoeshoe.
If you like history and culture as part of your travel experience, Bloemfontein (Mangaung/Bloemfontein) offers a lot of both. This city really has seen it all. It was part of an independent Boer Republic, was colonised by the British and was considered the heartland of the old South Africa. Nevertheless, it has become remarkably compliant with the realities of the new South Africa. Bloemfontein serves as the judicial capital of the country and major lawsuits are resolved in the august wood-panelled halls of its historical buildings.
Bloemfontein's history and culture is there for all to see. Take a stroll along President Brand Street and admire the majestic buildings and manicured gardens. Make sure you pay a visit to City Hall, one of the impressive sandstone buildings designed by Sir Gordon Leith. The Old Presidency and Twin Spire Church are also fascinating buildings and the National Museum is home to one of the most extensive fossil collections in South Africa. Other noteworthy historical attractions include the National Women's Memorial and Anglo-Boer War (South African War) Museum, the Free State Agricultural Museum, Hertzog Square, New Clare Township and the Dam of Tears.
For those who love the finer things in life, don't miss the Oliewenhuis Art Museum - an attractive Cape-Dutch-inspired gallery filled with creative treasures and significant artworks. There are also the Motheo Art Route and the Mangaung Cultural Route for those who like to get involved in culture in a real way.
The BaSotho have a proud and tenacious history, and one of the historic highlights of a trip to the Free State is a visit to the Basotho Cultural Village in QwaQwa, close to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
Of course, if you're in the mood for something rather different (and sporty) whilst in Bloemftonein there's always the Choet Visser Rugby Museum.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Mangaung/Bloemfontein Tourism Information
60 Park Road
Tel: +27 (0) 51 405 8489
Fax: +27 (0) 51 447 3859