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BBloemfontein has numerous historical and cultural attractions on offer – from Boer War monuments to historic art galleries, fascinating townships, indigenous cultural villages and even a museum dedicated to the game of rugby.
Bloemfontein (Mangaung) has lots on offer for history buffs.
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.
BBloemfontein'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.
Bloemfontein, Free State
MMake 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.
AArt lovers should be sure to visit 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 Bloemfontein there's always the Choet Visser Rugby Museum.
Experience music, dance and food from across the country, as well as Tsonga crafts and Zulu beer-brewing; and don’t forget the magical clicking language of the San people.
The first shebeens in South Africa were local bars and taverns where mostly working-class urban males could unwind, socialise, and escape the oppression of life during the Apartheid era.
Visit Naval Hill in Bloemfontein and enjoy the views and rich history.
A floral haven in the City of Roses at the Free State Botanical Garden
Remembering the past at the Anglo-Boer War Museum
With Nelson Mandela's passing, he will be remembered for his generosity of spirit and the remarkable achievement of bringing peace to a deeply divided country.
As beautiful as the Free State is, it’s equally interesting and dynamic. It’s centred around traditional African cultures, as well as influences of the early European settlers.
The Oliewenhuis Art Museum may be called a “museum”, but it's really an art experience – gallery, restaurants, gardens and all!
Jazz fans from around the world appreciate the skill and vibrant talent of South African jazz musicians.
If you’re a history buff, particularly military history, then the Battlefields Route in the Free State province will take you on a journey through the sites of some of the fiercest battles in South African history.
Just over an hour outside of Johannesburg, nestled on the banks of the Vaal River, you’ll come across a small town with a big heart.
If you’re looking for that raw mix of South African culture and breathtaking scenery, then you have to visit the Basotho Cultural Village in the Free State province.