Castle Of Good Hope
Cape Town • South Africa

From: Cape Town Travel Guide

See also: St Georges CathedralCompany's Garden

Castle Of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa
The Castle of Good Hope was built around 1666 as a replenishment station by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and is the oldest surviving colonial building within South Africa.

The Castle was built on the site on an earlier fort that was designed by Jan van Riebeeck out of wood and clay but this was totally rebuilt in 1666into something a little bit more sturdy that would act as a good means of defence, and it was Governor Zacharias Wagenaar who laid the first cornerstone of the pentagonal shaped castle under engineer Pieter Dombaer.

In 1679 each of the five bastions of the castle were named Prince of Orange, Leerdam, Nassau, Buuren and Catzenellenbogen after the five titles of Prince Willem also known as Prins Willem van Oranje and William III of England.

The entrance gate used to face the sea-front but was moved by Simon van der Stel for reasons of practicality, safety and security reasons and was also embellished with the coat of arms of the six chamber cities of the Dutch East India Company and their monogram (VOC), above the coat of arms is the crest of the Netherlands and a bell tower which today still contains the original bell which was cast in 1697.

The Castle Military Museum
Within the museum you can learn about how the military presence grew in order to protect itself from the threat of invasion from the British and French. The museum also houses an impressive sword collection which has fine examples that have been gathered over the years and which are neatly presented.

Within the museum is the beautiful Kat balcony which was designed by Louis Michel Thibault and contains sculptures by Anton Anreith. The balcony was used for addressing the people and military of the Castle. Inside the building is the superb collection of William Fehr paintings many of which depict the Cape.

Military Tatoo
Each year in November the Castle holds a military Tatoo which shows a series of military exercises and provides a wonderful evening's entertainment.

Guided Tours of the Castle are available at regular intervals throughout the day as well as a carriage ride guided tour of Cape Town which includes many of the tourist attractions such as Groote Kerk and the Houses of Parliament.

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