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The main public square in Cape town is called the Grand Parade and is located between Lower Plein Street, Darling Street and Buitenkant Street in the Cape Town City Centre. It was originally named “Wapen Plein” (Square of Arms) and in 1652 it was the site of Jan van Riebeek’s original "Fort de Goede Hoop” but was later demolished. The Grand Parade has, however, always been associated with the Castle of Good Hope which is located next to the parade and was used by the garrison as a training ground.

Currently it is predominantly used as a market and also for parking but from time to time is it used as a venue to accommodate up to 250 000 people.

Original Use 

  • Public Slave Flogging 
  • Military Excises
  • Weekly auctions in the 1800's
  • National Celebrations
  • Safe haven in the earthquake of 1809
  • Public Protests

Major Events

  • 1990 - Mandela’s first speech after leaving prison 
  • 1994 - Following his election as President, Mandela addressed the nation, the world and the 250 000 people gathered there
  • 2010 - FIFA Fan Fest hosted the live screening of all the world cup matches for up to 250 000 fans

Bordering Grand Parade

History

The Grand Parade was a military parade ground for the Castle of Good Hope’s garrisons for many years and also a space where the public met for political rallies and other functions. The original grounds were twice the size it is today. 

1806 – A fountain was planned but never materialised

1879 - Half of the Grand Parade was given up to the building of the Railway Station followed by the City Hall, Opera Theatre, Volunteers Drill Hall and the Commercial Exchange

1962 - It was declared a National Monument under the old NMC legislation

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