Showing posts from September, 2012

Day 7 : Rome Italy (20 June 2008) Cont


After our tour of the Roman Forum we followed the guide to the Collosseum and went inside.It took 8 years to built the colloseum and it was celebrated with 100 days of games. It was used for different games like a man with spear against an animal or 20 prisoners without weapons against animals.They would even gather water inside and would then have naval battles inside.The colloseum is huge and it is difficult to think it was built so long ago. After walking around inside the colleseum we went outside and bought a book about the Roman Forum and Colloseum.Then (at about 17:00) we rode with the train from Colosseo to Spagna to go buy some food.We bought some pizza at a shop close to the Pantheon and sat on the steps of a fountain to eat.Our feet were tired from walking.It was still very hot.

We also went looking for a place to buy memory cards for our cameras because we were taking a lot of photos and was running out of space.At the first shop we tried the power was out and at the se…

Grahamstown : Old Post Box

Today is Heritage Day in South Africa.  It is a public holiday and we are in Beaufort West.  I have scheduled a few posts for the weekend with some of the National Heritage Sites we saw in Grahamstown in April and May this year.
A fun stop on our last day in Grahamstown was the Oldest Official Letter Box in South Africa,It can be found where the North-west end of Worcester Street intersects with Somerset Street.The pillar box became a National Monument on 17 march 1989.
The following description was found on the website for the South African Heritage Resources Agency: "This pillar box, belongs to one of the earliest documented British made post boxes, the fluted type supplied in 1857. This was one of 19 distinct types of pillar boxes supplied to the British post office in the period, 1852 to 1859 i,e, before the first National Standard pillar box became available in 1859. As only 5 of this fluted type are known to survive in Britain itself,this indeed a very rare piece of postal his…

Grahamstown : Shaw Hall

The Shaw Hall in Grahamstown was erected in 1831.It was inaugurated in 1832 as a Methodist Church.After the Commemoration Church was completed in 1850 the Shaw Hall was used as meeting hall.The hall was named after Reverend William Shaw, the founder of the Methodist Church in South Africa.It was declared a National Monument on 27 December 1985.
On 28 April 1864 Shaw Hall was used for the opening of parliament.It was the only time that the Cape Parliament ever sat outside of Cape Town.  

Grahamstown : Fort Selwyn

After an interesting visit to the Observatory Museum we drove to Gunfire Hill to see Fort Selwyn.The hill got its name because the Royal Artillery used to fire a gun each morning at 9 o’ clock until 1870. In 1835 Governor D Urban ordered that barracks must be built on the Drosdy Grounds in Grahamstown for the large garrison.Fort Selwyn was built in 1836 to protect the town and its water supply.The Royal Artillery from 1836 until 1662 occupied the fort.

The fort was manned again during the Anglo Boer War from 1899 until 1902.During all this time there was never shots fired in anger from the fort.After the war the fort was neglected. In 1925 is was restorated and was declared a National Monument in 1936. The fort is quite small and the view of the town is great.We could see the whole town and even identify some buildings like the cathedral.I was very impressed about how clean the fort was (Compared to the dirty Fort Frederick in Port Elizabeth).

Grahamstown : Old Gaols

It is a long weekend in South Africa.Monday is Heritage Day, a public holiday.We will be spending the weekend in Beaufort West.We want to visit some museums, churches, a few National heritage sites and hopefully just relax.
I have scheduled a few posts for the weekend with some of the National Heritage Sites we saw in Grahamstown in April and May this year.Wikipedia has a very nice list of the National Heritage Sites in South Africa with information about the buildings.I have already posted about the Commemoration Churchand Observatory Museum.
Thera are two Old Gaols in Grahamstownand both are National Heritgae Sites.The oldest is in High Street.This is also the oldest building in the town.Erection of the builsing started in 1813 and it served as a gaol until 1824.It later became the Grahamstown public School and later the first public library.It is now used by the MOTH’s
The second was built in 1824 in Somerset Street.It replaced the original prisonin High Street and could hold 200 pris…

Grahamstown : Albany Observatory Museum

After disappointing visits to the History museum and National English Language Museum we decided to try one more museum, The Observatory Museum in Bathurst Street.This museum is also part of the Albany Museum Complex.
The main attraction of this museum is the Victorian camera Obscura.It is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.The camera uses a system of mirrors and lenses to show a live calour panorama view of the town on a flat viewing surface in a darkened room.We had to pay R10 and were taken up some narrow stairs but had no idea what to expect. The guide first told us a bit about how this camera works.I am not very technical and can’t remember the detail.Then he closed all the doors to make the room dark and the opened the lenses to show a view of the street in the round viewing surface.

It is really amazing to see.The guide gave us a 360 tour of most sights in the town while standing in the darkened room by pulling ropes and moving the mirrors and lenses.It was very i…

Grahamstown : Albany History Museum

After spending most of the morning in the Cathedral in Grahamstown ( I will write more about the cathedral later) we walked around and visited a bookshop looking for a book about the town.We discovered a small second hand bookshop with an amazing variety of books.My Husband and I both love reading and it was difficult to leave.Next we visited the tourism office.The staff was not helpful and did not know a lot about the town.They gave us a few pamphlets and could not answer our questions. Next we decided to visit the History Museum in Somerset Street.This museum is part of the Albany Museum Complex.The museum is very empty and it only took us about 10 minutes to walk through.There are some old paintings showing history Grahamstown and some exhibits about the 1820 British Settlers.We were a bit disappointed. The following stop for the day was the National English Language Museum in Beaufort Street.We rang the bell and the door was opened but nobody talked to us.We did not really know w…

Day 7 : Rome Italy (20 June 2008)

After rushing to get there from St Peter’s Bascilica to the Roman Forum for the start of the Guided Imperial Tour at 14:00 we were tired.We were also hungry because there was no time to buy food before the tour started.
We met our guide in front of the Roman Forum.He was very interesting and said: “Follow zee guide, Contiki” when he wanted us to follow him.He told us interesting stories about the history of the buildings and the people that built them.It was very warm and we tried to stand in the shade every time he moved to the next building.
The Forum consists of ruins of ancient buildings of Rome. It is amazing to think that parts of buildings from 2 000 years ago can survive.I only knew a little about the Roman history and found the stories told by our guide fascinating.(Although I had trouble concentrating due to the heat and hunger)
Basilica Aemilia

The oldest basilica at the forum was built in 179 BC to provide a sheltering place for businesses. A fire destroyed it in 410 AD.