Houses of Parliament, Cape Town
The city of Cape Town, despite not being the capital of South Africa, is home to South Africa’s Parliament - Cape Town is the legislative capital, whilst the seat of government is in Pretoria, the administrative capital - which is one of the biggest draw cards to the city under the mountain.
Lying in the uppermost corner of Company Gardens, with their entrance on Parliament Street, it’s not unusual for locals and visitors alike to encounter Members of Parliament in coffee shops or restaurants in the surrounding areas; and journalists use this locale to scout for news. It is from here that the President gives his State of the Nation Address, after the opening of Parliament, which involves several road closures and demarcated ‘no parking zones’ around the Gardens - a challenge for locals getting in and out of the Cape Town city centre, but a welcome spectacle for visitors.
The parliament building itself, which also houses the Library of Parliament, is beautiful, with its central dome and Corinthian porticos and pavilions.
The original designer, Charles Freeman, miscalculated the foundations and was replaced by Henry Greaves, who oversaw the building until completion in 1885. The new House of Assembly was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.
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Attractions / Activities nearby
Company Gardens is a large public park and botanical garden set in the heart of Cape Town, home to a rose garden, Japanese garden, fish pond and aviary. Roaming Company Gardens, past the back of Parliament and Tuynhuys, the President’s official residence when in the mother city, is part of every visitor’s ... more information
Tuynhuys, the office of the state President and closed to the public, witnessed one of the most important turning points in South African history when FW de Klerk announced from its steps, on 18 March 1992, that South Africa had ‘closed the book on apartheid’. This beautiful building, built originally in 1700 as ... more information
The oldest museum in sub-Saharan Africa, the South African Museum (SAM) has been adding to their collections for nearly 200 years and was established in 1825. Collections here range from fossils to insects and fish found as recently as a week ago; there are Stone Age tools, over 120 000 years old, side by ... more information
Lying in the Company Gardens, opposite the South African Museum on Government Avenue, the South African National Gallery houses some of the most beautiful collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art in South Africa. The South African National Gallery’s permanent ... more information