Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Greenmarket Square
You cannot visit Cape Town and not visit one of its oldest markets, set on a cobbled square between Short and Longmarket Streets...
Where? Greenmarket Square, Cape Town Central, Cape Town
When? Monday to Saturday from 09h00 to 16h00.
This is where Capetonians have been buying their clothing, jewellery, sandals, crafts and nick-nacks for years, and, whilst the face of the market may have changed a little - African curios now predominate - there is still an exciting buzz as well as evidence of the city’s most colourful and eccentric characters.
Greenmarket Square is unbeatable value too. You can pick up local art, crafts, fabrics and artifacts from almost every country on the continent at this open-air gathering place. Bartering is the name of the game on the square, which used to function as a trading area for passing ships.
Today Greenmarket Square is bordered by a selection of restaurants and cafés that provide ample opportunity to people-watch and enjoy local fare, although a cup of coffee might suffice as Cape Town’s renowned hospitality isn’t always in evidence here. There are an few coffee shops, restaurants and hotels bordering on Greenmarket Square, convenient for customers who need to relax after shopping.
The square was originally built in 1696, when the first burgher watch house was erected here, and was ingeniously known as ‘Burgher Watch Square’. The watch house was replaced by the old town house, built in 1761, which also functioned as the city’s City Hall for a while.
Today it houses the Michaelis collection, through which you can browse - entrance is by donation. Many of the other houses on the square date back to the 1860’s and, whilst the square, declared a national monument in 1961, may originally have been for the wealthy and elite, today it is the stamping ground of people from all walks of life and a tribute to the vibrancy of Africa.