25 Oct 2014 | By Sun International
The Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town
With some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet and gorgeous scenery that requires no Instagram filters, Cape Town is not surprisingly a top tourist destination. Not just beautiful to behold, Cape Town is also filled with historical delight. For proof look no further than the Castle of Good Hope. Built by the Dutch East Indian Company between 1666 and 1679, it is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa and one of the top historical places to see in Cape Town.
Did you know? Rock cut from the granite outcrop on Signal Hill was used in the construction of the castle, as well as shells and blue slate transported from Robben Island.
The Castle of Good Hope once known as "Kui Keip" (Stone Kraal) by the Khoi and was declared a historical monument in 1936. Currently a provincial heritage site, the Castle is held to be the world's best preserved example of a Dutch East India Company fort. Specially known as a star fort, the Castle of Good Hope was originally built as a maritime replenishment station but now functions as a popular museum site housing both the Iziko Museums of Cape Town and the Castle Military Museum.
Top tip: Visitors to the Castle should not leave without seeing the Castle Military Museum's impressive sword collection.
Originally located on the coastline of Table Bay, the Castle of Good Hope was moved to its current location following land reclamations. Conveniently located near both of Sun International's hotels in Cape Town, visitors to Cape Town are spoiled with the choice of accommodation at the 5-star Table Bay Hotel or the family fabulous GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World. Rest assured, regardless of the choice, visitors will be guaranteed an unforgettable vacation. What's more, with the Castle of Good Hope and numerous other tourist attractions only a few minutes' drive away from both hotels in Cape Town, visitors will be perfectly located for a captivating and fun-filled trip.
5 fascinating facts about the Castle of Good Hope:
- Not just a relic of the past, today the Castle is the seat of the military in the Cape.
- The firing of Signal Cannon takes place Monday to Friday at 10h10 and 12h10 and every Saturday at 11h00 and 12h00.
- The walls were first painted yellow in an attempt to reduce the effects of the blistering African sun.
- The Castle of Good Hope has its very own resident blacksmith. This allows visitors a unique glimpse into the functioning of the Castle in the 17th and 18th century when all castles were equipped with their own smithy.
- During the Second Boer War (1899 – 1902) a section of the Castle was used as a prison.
Adults pay only R30, while children (5 – 16 years) and pensioners enjoy a slashed rate of only R15.