24 May 2012

Castle of Good Hope

I have been looking at some old pictures and decided write about a trip to Cape Town in July 2005.  I went to visit a friend and we went to the Castle of Good Hope because I have never been there.

The Castle is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa.  The Dutch East India Company (VOC) built it between 1666 and 1679 by.  It replaced Jan van Riebeeck’s Fort de Goede Hoop.  Commander Zacharias Wagenaer was instructed to build the pentagonal fortress out of stone.  The first stone was laid on 2 January 1666.  The five bastions were named after the main title of William III of Orange-Nassau: Leerdam, Buuren, Katzennelgogen, Nassau and Oranje.  The fortress housed a church, bakery, workshops, living quarters, shops, prison cells and other facilities.  It was declared a National Monument in 1936. 
Entrance and Bell Tower
After paying our entrance fee we joined the (free) guided tour of the castle.  The tour takes about an hour and during the tour the guide gives interesting information about the different parts of the castle.  After the tour we watched the Key Ceremony followed by the firing of the Signal Cannon.  The Key ceremony was a bit boring but the firing of the cannon woke us up.  Don’t be fooled by how small the cannon is because it makes a huge noise when fired.
Inner Gable dates back to
early 17th century
B Block and Captian's Tower

Nassau Bastion
The bell tower was built in 1684 and the bell was cast in Amsterdam in 1697.  It is the oldest bell in South Africa.  The gateway replaced the old entrance, which faced the sea.  B Block is the oldest part of the castle.  A sundial on the wall was used to tell time during the morning.  The Captian’s Tower was the highest building in the Cape for more than a century.  During restorations in 1982 foundations of a pool was found.  The pool and “Het Bakhuys” is a reconstruction of the original bakery and Dolphin Pool.
Dolphin Pool and Het Bakhuys
Leerdam Bastion

Key Ceremony in front of Kat Balcony
We also visited the two museums inside the Castle. 
1.         The William Fehr Collection is housed in the Granary and Residence.  This collection includes historical paintings and furniture.  There were beautiful paintings and a really big dining table.  Unfortunately we were not aloud to take photos of the collection.

2.         The Military Museum is in the original entrance, “Waterpoort” and includes a big sword collection.  We were getting tired and did not spend a lot of time here.

The time needed to visit the Castle depends on how interested you are in all the exhibits.  We spend about 3.5 hours at the castle. (±2 hours for the castle & 1.5 hours for museums) I enjoyed the visit and think it is time to return for a second visit.

USEFUL INFORMATION:
Castle of Good Hope
Address:                     Corner of Darling & Buitenkant Streets, Cape Town
Website:                      www.castleofgoodhope.co.za
Phone no:                    +27 21 787 1260
Visiting Hours:            Daily:                                   09:00 - 16:00 (Last entry 15:30)
                                     Key Ceremony                   Monday - Friday (10:00 & 12:00)
                                     Firing of Signal Cannon    Monday - Friday (10:10 & 12:10),
                                                                                  Saturday (11:00 & 12:00)

(Not a sponsored post)

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