Tavern Of The Seas
The Castle of Good Hope is located in the "Tavern of the Seas" (the name the sailors used for Cape Town) in the Foreshore area of Cape Town next to the Grand Parade and the City Hall. It was built in 1666 and is the oldest building in South Africa. It has been meticulously restored and used for various purposes over the years. Its original function was as a replenishment station for sailors who travelled half way around the world on the Spice Route and later it was used as a fortress to protect the Cape from invasion from other countries. The Castle of Good Hope was built close to the sea but land reclamation took place and now the castle is a distance away. The castle is today an ideal location for conference venues where the guests have the most magnificent views of Cape Town and Table Mountain. There are guided tours of the castle and the museum every day except Sundays.
The Castle of Good Hope is a service orientated public entity, striving to optimize its tourism potential and accessibility to the public and to preserve and protect its cultural and military heritage.
The museum was officially opened in 1995 and is the custodian of Cape Military history including a remarkable collection of swords. The entrance to the museum was originally the main entrance of the castle. The Museum showcases military history with a vast collection of exhibits:
Castle memorabilia and publications can be bought at this shop.
The castle has two dungeons.
The forge continues to be operational and produces door-handles, nuts, bolts, ship’s nails and weapons.
National art and military treasures have been housed in the castle for nearly 50 years.The collections depict the life and tradition of the residents who worked and lived in the Cape from aristocracy to slaves:
This ceremony takes place from Monday to Friday and is followed by the firing of the Signal Cannon. It has been performed since the castle’s inception and is the ceremonial unlocking of the Castle. The Castle guard is responsible for the key ceremony and the firing of the cannon.
The Castle of Good Hope is a pentagonal fortress built of stone with five bastions and a moat. Grey–blue stone was used for the pilasters the entablature and the pediments. The entrance was made of yellow bricks called “ijselstene” making it a fine example of Dutch classicism architecture of the Cape and was built by soldiers, volunteers and slaves. A gateway was built at a later stage and the pediment is decorated with the coat of arms of the United Netherlands in the form of the crowned lion rampant holding the seven arrows of unity in its paw.
At the entrance on the architrave is carved coat of arms of the cities where the Dutch East India Company had chambers, namely Amsterdam, Delft, Ekhuizen, Middelburg, Rotterdam, Van Hoorn.
The Castle of Good Hope was built to serve as a halfway house for the sailors who sailed half way around the world on the spice route and was later used to protect the Cape from the British and French. The castle has always been associated with the military and today it is the seat of the military in the Cape. To this day the military’s presence is necessary to protect this national treasure. At one stage in its history the Castle was offered for sale for £ 83 340 but the military evoked the sentiments of the public and it was saved from destruction.
1666 - The Castle was built as a maritime replenishing station for sailors on the spice route and was built by the East India Company.
1679 – The five Bastions were named after the main title of William of Orange-Nassau.
1682 – The gateway was built in front of the entrance that was facing the sea.
1939 – The castle was declared a historical monument and is now a Provincial Heritage Site.
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