Pretoria CBD, Pretoria
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Pretoria, which lies roughly 50 kilometres north of Johannesburg, is the administrative capital, one of three capital cities in South Africa. Stand on the slope at the Union Buildings and look towards the Pretoria CBD (central business district) and you will get a real idea of the number of official and historical buildings in town - there are some notable structures that dominate the skyline including the State Theatre and the Reserve Bank of South Africa with its famous office tower.
Whilst the controversy over changing the city's name to Tshwane continues, it is an interesting aside that the city was initially called Pretoria Philadelphia - Pretoria of brotherly love.
There are any number of reasons for visiting Pretoria's centre. There are historic buildings, monuments and museums that include the Pretoria City Hall (in front of it is one of the city's most beautiful parks - Pretorius Square) and Church Square, which is also home to the statue of Paul Kruger, State President when the country was known as the South African Republic. This particular statue was commissioned by Sammy Marks, of Sammy Marks Museum fame (worth a visit in its own right, but east of the CBD in Zwartkoppies).
Just near Church Square in the CBD is the Transvaal Museum, the country's leading natural history museum, which although it has changed venues a number of times, has been around since 1892 (take in the Discovery Centre for a hands-on experience of nature and science).
Other places worth visiting in the Pretoria CBD are the Pretoria Zoo, which is anything but a series of caged animals, the Tshwane Tourism office in the building next to the Ou Raadsaal, Melrose House Museum in Jacob Maré Street, the National Cultural History Museum and Burgers Park, the oldest park in the city and now a national monument.
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Featured Attractions in (or near) Pretoria CBD
Church Square is located in the centre of town and is somewhat of a landmark in Pretoria. This is a worthwhile visit not only for the interesting history, but the number of buildings surrounding it each with their own story. See the broze statue of former president of the old Transvaal Republic ... more information
This is one of the most famous zoos in the world and the largest in South Africa. The most interesting feature of the zoo is the aquarium and reptile park. Visitors can also take a ride in the famous cable cars which provide excellent views of the zoo and city. See the koala bear from Australia ... more information
Regarded as the highest building in Pretoria / Tshwane, with a basement that extends some 25 metres below ground (for very good reason – where better to place a vault or two), SARB (The South African Reserve Bank) is the country’s central bank; its purpose to protect the value of the ... more information
The huge State Theatre complex in Church Street in Pretoria / Tshwane, with its five theatres and huge public square, opened in 1981 as a non-profit, government funded company famous for lavish productions that saw overseas opera singers and ballet dancers grace the huge main stage ... more information
On one of the major streets in the centre of Tshwane, the capital city of South Africa, lies what is regarded as the country’s leading natural history museum, open every day of the week. Founded in 1892, the Transvaal Museum of Natural History was originally buried away in a tiny room next to the clock tower on the ... more information
Designed by Sir Herbert Baker and completed in 1913. Considered by many to be the architect's greatest achievement & South Africa's architectural masterpiece. This was the setting for President Nelson Mandela's historic inauguration in 1994. The spacious, terraced gardens command fine views of the city ... more information
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