Castle of Good Hope (Cape Town)
Overview of The Castle of Good Hope
The Castle of Good Hope (Kasteel de Goede Hoop, Kasteel die Goeie Hoop) is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. During the period of 1678+, it was the center of civilian, administrative, and military life at the Cape.
A quick history of the Castle of Good Hope
The purpose of the early Dutch settlement in the Cape was to act as a replenishment station for ships braving the treacherous Cape coast, on their long voyages between the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).
During 1664, tensions rose between Britian and the Netherlands, and rumors arose that war war imminent. Jan van Riebeeck's successor, Commander Zacharias Wagenaer, was instructed to build the pentagonal Castle of Good Hope fortress out of stone. The first stone of the new fortress was laid on the 2nd of January 1666.
Despite frequent interruptions by the VOC's reluctance to spend money on the project, the work was completed.
The five bastions were named after the main title of the William III of Orange-Nassau. To the West - Leerdam, with Buuren, Katzennelbogen, Nassau and Oranje clockwise from it.
In 1962, a new sea facing gated entry was constructed. The bell tower was added in 1684. The original bell was cast in Amsterdam in 1967, and weighs just over 300 kilograms. The bell was used to announce time, as well as danger, to the citizens. The bell could be heard over 10 kilometers away.
The fortress housed a church, bakery, workshops, living quarters, shops, and prison cells, among other facilities. The yellow paint was originally chosen because it lessened the effect of heat and the scorching sun.
The Castle of Good Hope was declared a national monument in 1936. The 1980's saw extensive restoration to the Castle of Good Hope, making the Caste of Good Hope the best preserved example of a VOC fort.
Facilities for visitors to the Castle of Good Hope today
The Castle of Good Hope features various museums which history buffs will find very interesting. The Castle of Good Hope features one of the most impressive sword collections in South Africa.
The Key Ceremony is also worth a watch, as this includes the firing of the Signal Cannon, and the ceremonious handing over of the "keys" to the Governor".
The Castle of Good Hope also houses the William Fehr collection, leading from a balcony that was built in 1695.
There is also a Restaurant, De Goewerneur, where visitors canhave a light breakfast or lunch, and a drink after their explorations. Visit the curio shop for some memorabilia to remind your of your visit to the Castle of Good Hope.
Departing from the Castle of Good Hope are Horse and Carriage rides of approximately one hour. Sunset rides are also offered.
Review of The Castle of Good Hope
The Castle of Good Hope made for a fascinating visit. The architecture of the castle was a excellent subject for photographs. Although we were a little disappointed at the way the paint came off of some of the walls, most of the buildings are still in a very good condition.
We watched the firing of the Signal cannon from De Goewerneur restaurant which had a good view of the event. The little cannon was a bit of a surprise, as we were expecting a huge cannon, but don't get me wrong, that little cannon makes a huge bang! Cover your ears...