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WWelcome to South Africa’s capital city. Part of the package with any capital is a fascinating history and vibrant culture.
Spend some time walking through South Africa’s history at its political heart. Visit the Union Buildings and Freedom Park; spend time in the various museums and learn more about our uniquely South African cultures or take a stroll around Church Square.
HHistory and culture in Pretoria/Tshwane reveals a lot about the character of this city. Once the capital of the old independent Transvaal Boere Republic, the new democratic Pretoria lies in Gauteng, as part of the Tshwane municipality, and is the administrative and diplomatic heart of the country.
IIn Pretoria, history and culture form part of everyday life with historic landmarks found around almost every corner. A pleasant stroll around Church Square in the heart of town will take you past Die Raadsaal, the parliament buildings of the former Boer Republic. You’ll also see the Palace of Justice, used as a military hospital until 1902 by the British, when the hostilities of the Anglo-Boer War ceased.
A truly incredible site is the magnificent Union Buildings, designed by Sir Herbert Baker. This crescent-shaped complex was built in 1910 to house the administrative offices of the Union of South Africa. Here, you’ll really get a sense for South Africa’s political past as well as the current state of affairs.
Art lovers should visit the Pretoria Art Museum in Arcadia. Not only is it set in idyllic surroundings, it’s often the chosen venue for launches and exhibitions celebrating ethnic diversity – which is what South Africa is all about.
The University of Pretoria, a very well-respected institution, also houses a distinguished collection of artworks. If that wasn’t enough, the National Cultural History Museum is rich in expressions of rock art, Ndebele murals and various historic gold and silver artefacts.
NNext stop, Freedom Park, a whole new way of “seeing” South African history. Intended to embody the nation's historical consciousness, the hill-top complex in Salvokop commemorates the struggle and the liberation heroes who have shaped South Africa into the nation it is today. Here you'll find a memorial list of all those killed in both World War I and II, the Boer Wars and those who lost their lives during the dark days of apartheid, standing as a monument to democracy. No trip to Pretoria or Tshwane is complete without a visit to Freedom Park.
Pretoria proudly delivers on a rich history of culture. From there, it’s time to explore the deep, and more ancient, history of our human ancestors at the Cradle of Humankind just down the road.