City Center, Bloemfontein
The bustling hub of the city's life is Hoffmann Square, in which are the Tourist Information Office and the Head Post Office. The square, originally the town's market square, was given its present aspect in the 1970s. It is a convenient starting-point for a tour of the main sights, a walk taking about an hour.
The National Museum has a large collection of fossils and archaeological material, including the famous Florisbad Skull and one of the largest known dinosaurs. The ethnological section has interesting displays on the life of the Bushmen, and there are also exhibitions on the history of the Free State.
To the north of Hoffmann Square is the Twin-Spired Church, the only Dutch Reformed church in South Africa with two spires, built in 1880 on the model of Bamberg Cathedral in Germany. It is also known as the President's Church, having been the scene of historically important ceremonies, including the swearing-in of several Presidents of the Free State.
Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of South Africa is a Neo-Classical building erected in 1929. The court rooms have stinkwood paneling and magnificent carved decoration.
Opposite the Court of Appeal is the Fourth Raadsaal, one of the city's handsomest buildings. The foundation stone was laid by President F. W. Reitz in 1890 and the building was completed in 1893. It is a Renaissance-style building in red brick with a prominent dome and a portico of Ionic columns. The last session of the Parliament of the old Boer republic of the Orange Free State was held here before the occupation of Bloemfontein by British forces in March 1900. It is now the seat of the Provincial Council of the province of Free State. In front of the building is a monument (by Coert Steynberg) to Christiaan de Wet, a general during the Boer War.
National Afrikaans Literary Museum
In the handsome Old Government Building (1908), is the National Afrikaans Literary Museum a treasure house of African literature, with manuscripts, books, photographs and other items belonging to well-known South African writers. In the same building are the Afrikaans Music Museum (musical instruments) and the Theatre Museum (theatrical costumes). In the Sculpture Garden are busts of famous poets and authors who wrote in Afrikaans.
The First Raadsaal (1849), is Bloemfontein's oldest building. This thatched cottage was originally a school, then the meeting-place of the Volksraad and later a church. It is now a museum on the history of Bloemfontein.
A stone column with the city's coat of arms marks the site of the spring from which Bloemfontein takes its name.
Immediately south of the Fourth Raadsaal is the Waldorf Building, built in 1928 for an insurance corporation and now occupied by offices and flats, and the Jubileum Building and Hall, once the headquarters of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Orange Free State.
This stately Victorian building (1885) on the west side of Brand Street was the residence of three Presidents of the Boer republic of the Orange Free State. It now houses a museum devoted to the terms of office of the three Presidents - P. J. H. Brand (1864-88), P. W. Reitz (1888-95) and M.T. Stein (1896-1900) - as well as pictures and furniture. The building is also a cultural center used for art exhibitions, small theatrical performances and concerts.
Hertzog House was the residence from 1895 to 1924 of J. B.M. Hertzog, a Boer general who became President of the Union of South Africa. It is now a museum. During the 1914 rebellion Hertzog's friends posted themselves in the branches of the tree outside the dining room window to protect him. Among them was a future President of South Africa, C. R. Swart.
Near the east end of St George's Street is the Anglican Cathedral. Construction of the church began in 1850, but the extension at the west end was completed only in 1885. The bell-tower had to be pulled down in 1964.
Bloemfontein Fire Station
Bloemfontein's Fire Station built in 1933 is a formally symmetrical sandstone building incorporating Mediterranean elements.
Map of Bloemfontein Attractions
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