Read about the city
Pretoria is known as the capital of South Africa; a status it shares with both Cape Town and Bloemfontein. The city is beautifully situated on the river Apies and at the foot of the Magaliesberg ridges, and it attracts many tourists every year.
Pretoria is named after pioneer Andries Pretorius, and it is a city with a lot of fine sights. One of the highlights is the political center, the governmental body with the impressive Union Buildings. You should also se the great Voortrekker Monument and the many preserved buildings from Pretoria's earlier history.
Nearly everywhere in the city you can enjoy the sight of some of the many thousands of Jacaranda trees that adorn the streets, gardens and parks. South Africa's national zoo is also located in Pretoria, and the gardens at Union Buildings are definitely worth a stroll too.
The surrounding area of Pretoria is also interesting with good opportunities for excursions. You can go to the big city of Johannesburg, which offers several museums and attractions, while nature and some of South Africa's national parks are also close to Pretoria.
- Kruger House: The elegant Kruger House was built in 1884 as a very modern house; it was, for example, one of the first in Pretoria with electricity. The house was the Pretoria residence of boer leader and president Paul Kruger.
- National Zoological Gardens: The National Zoological Gardens is a zoo located close to downtown Pretoria. The garden opened in 1899, and it is today one of the world's large and fine zoological gardens.
- Pretoria Art Museum: The Pretoria Art Museum has an excellent collection of works by South African artists. There are changing exhibitions where the more than 3,000 works are exhibited in alternation.
- Melrose House: In 1886, wealthy George Heys commissioned this mansion in a distinguished mix of Victorian and Edwardian style. Lord Roberts set up the British military headquarters in the mansion in 1900.
- Pretoria City Hall: Pretoria's City Hall was inaugurated in 1935. It was built in the era's typical Italian classicism of large public buildings, and you can also see a clock tower at the city hall.
Read about city history
In 1836, Dutch families started the large front-row caravan from Cape Town towards new land inland. They came to the Pretoria area, which they began to cultivate. Later, in 1855, the Pioneer leader Marthinus Pretorius founded the city of Pretoria, which he named after his father Andries Pretorius, who had become the national hero of the Dutch in connection with the victory over the powerful Zulus in a battle at Blood River. Pretoria soon after its founding became the capital of the Boer-dominated South African Republic, the South African Republic.
The capital developed in the republic until the war against Britain in 1899-1902. In the year 1900, the British conquered Pretoria and it was here that the peace treaty that ended the war was signed. It was the end of the South African Republic, which in 1910 was replaced by the new South African Union, for which Pretoria became the administrative capital, while Cape Town in the Cape Province became the legislative capital of the country. Pretoria was also the capital of the province of Transvaal.
A number of large public buildings were erected in connection with the city's new status, not least the impressive government buildings, Union Buildings, which was inaugurated in 1913.
Nearby Johannesburg was developing tremendously economically, while Pretoria maintained the administration of the country's laws. As a result, Pretoria was often in the international news, not least in the time following the introduction of the racially divided society.
The rich gold and diamond deposits financially benefited Pretoria as well, and in the latter half of the 20th century a number of modern buildings were erected and new districts emerged.
Pretoria has preserved many of its historic buildings, and today visitors can experience the city's history through mansions with historic contents, places of historical significance and a varied cultural offering.
Skjul indhold her