Theme Week South Africa – Bloemfontein

Thursday, 22 June 2017 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
Reading Time:  5 minutes

Old Presidency © Janek Szymanowski/cc-by-sa-3.0

Old Presidency © Janek Szymanowski/cc-by-sa-3.0

Bloemfontein (Afrikaans and Dutch previously “fountain of flowers” or “blooming fountain;” also known as Bloem) is the capital city of the province of Free State of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa’s three national capitals (the other two being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital). Bloemfontein is the sixth largest city in South Africa. Bloemfontein was popularly and poetically known as “the city of roses”, owing to the abundance of these flowers and the annual rose festival held there. The city’s Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning “place of cheetahs“. Bloemfontein has since 2011 formed part of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, having previously been part of the Mangaung Local Municipality.

Though historically a predominantly Afrikaner settlement, Bloemfontein was officially founded in 1846 as a fort by British army major Henry Douglas Warden as a British outpost in the Transoranje region, at that stage occupied by various groups of peoples including Cape Colony Trek Boers, Griqua and Basotho. Although modern day Bloemfontein has a reputation for its flowers in an otherwise arid region, the origin of the city’s name is unclear. Popular legends include an ox named “Bloem” owned by one of the pioneer farmers that was taken by a lion near a fountain on his property, while another story names Jan Bloem (1775–1858), a Korana KhoiKhoi leader who inhabited the area. Bloemfontein literally means fountain of flowers or flower spring in Dutch. With colonial policy shifts, the region changed into the Orange River Sovereignty (1848–54) and eventually the Orange Free State Republic (1854–1902). From 1902–10 it served as the capital of the Orange River Colony and since that time as the provincial capital of the Free State. In 1910 it became the Judicial capital of the Union of South Africa.

Parliament building with monument to Christiaan de Wet © Anne97432/cc-by-2.5 Main building, University of the Orange Free State © Martin Kozák/cc-by-sa-3.0 Old Presidency © Janek Szymanowski/cc-by-sa-3.0 Bloemfontein City Hall © Carlviloria/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - South African Tourism/cc-by-2.0 Grey College - Andrew Murray House © Carla de Villiers/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Main building, University of the Orange Free State © Martin Kozák/cc-by-sa-3.0
Warden originally chose the site largely because of its proximity to the main route to Winburg, the spacious open country, and the absence of horse sickness. Bloemfontein was the original farm of Johannes Nicolaas Brits born 21 February 1790, owner and first inhabitant of Bloemfontein. Johann – as he was known – sold the farm to Maj Warden. As the capital of the Orange Free State Republic the growth and maturing of the Republic resulted in the growth of the town. Numerous public buildings that remain in use today were constructed. This was largely facilitated by the excellent governance of the Republic (which acquired the term model republic) and the compensation from the British for the loss of the diamond rich Griqualand area. The old Orange Free State‘s presidential residence the Old Presidency is currently a museum and cultural space in the city. A railway line was built in 1890 connecting Bloemfontein to Cape Town.

Until 1994 the city was the sole judicial capital of South Africa. It remains the seat for the Supreme Court Of Appeal (formerly the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court) and is therefore generally regarded as the judicial capital. It is also an administrative center with many private hospitals and educational institutions.

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Read more on Bloemfontein Tourism, LonelyPlanet.com – Bloemfontein, Wikivoyage Bloemfontein and Wikipedia Bloemfontein. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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