Cape Town’s Castle of Good Hope
In the fascinating city of Cape Town, South Africa, tourists will discover, in addition to a thriving world of arts and entertainment, a cultural heritage that is rich with historical importance. Because of its scenic beauty and history-imbued landmarks, travelers make Cape Town a principle destination. In fact, the city is one of the most popular places to go in all of Africa, drawing in about a million and a half tourists each year to stay in the more than 60,000 beds of its hotels, to see such sights as Table Mountain, and to take in the architecture of such buildings as the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest structure in all of South Africa.
The Dutch East India Company constructed the castle in the 17th century, somewhere around 1666 to 1679, and it remains today one of Cape Town’s most recognizable landmarks. The castle was created in order to replace the clay and timber building that Jan van Riebeeck made when he first came to South Africa and founded the city in 1652. Both buildings were meant to act as a place for supplies to be restocked as the ships of the Dutch East India Company sailed up and down the coast.
The interior of the castle contained living quarters, different styles of workshops, a bakery, and even a church; it was practically a town all by itself. This fort-castle was painted yellow because this color somehow allows less heat to pass into rooms of the buildings. Another wall inside the castle acted as a barrier to protect its residents from any assaults. Several interesting architectural features are part of the castle, including the Kat Balcony. This balcony was the design work of Louis Michel Thibault; it holds sculptures by Anton Anreith, who was a sculptor and woodcarver from Frieburg, Germany, and he was a soldier serving the Dutch East India Company in 1777. He designed the Koopsmans-De Wet House in Cape Town and, on the Groot Constantia, the oldest wine estate in South Africa, he designed the wine cellar, too.
The Castle of Good Hope was later rebuilt to the form travelers may see today between 1786 and 1790; however, it’s still possible to see the bell tower that was added to the castle in 1684, and this remains the oldest bell tower in South Africa. Approximately 270 years after it was built, in 1936, the Castle of Good Hope was designated a national monument.