Castle of Good Hope

Castle of Good Hope

The castle was completed in 1679 with the aim of protecting the new settlement from possible attack. (It never materialized). The oldest building in South Africa is a symbol of the birth of Western civilization on the subcontinent. The William Fehr Collection of Africana provides glimpses of life at the Cape during the 17th and 18th centuries.


Constructed between 1666 and 1679, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa and has been exceptionally well preserved. Inside the walls of the pentagonal castle you will find a combination of cultural and military history dating back to the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck to the Cape in 1652.

Inside the walls of the Castle, are amongst others, a church, bakery, living quarters, offices, cells and numerous other facilities. The yellow paint on the walls was chosen to reduce the glare from the sunlight and also because it reflects the heat.

The Castle acted as local headquarters for the South African Army in the Western Cape, but today houses the Castle Military Museum and ceremonial facilities for the traditional Cape Regiments.

The distinctive shape of the pentagonal castle was used on South African Defence Force flags, formed the basis of some rank insignia from the rank of major up and was used on South African Air Force aircraft.

Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town as Fortified Place

Today the Castle is the seat of the military in the Cape, and houses the Castle Military Museum and Iziko Museums of Cape Town (William Fehr Collection). Outside the entrance to the Castle fly the six flags that have flown over the castle during its history, ranging from the Dutch to the current flag of South Africa. Since the early days the blacksmith was synonymous with the Castle of Good Hope. See a replica of a real Castle Forge as it operated during the 17th and 18th century.

Castle Military Museum depicts the military history of the Cape, the Castle and Cape Regiments. The main entrance to the Castle bears many reminders of the nearly one and a half centuries of VOC presence at the Cape. This entrance is a unique example of 17th century Dutch classicism. The Bell Tower, cast in 1697 by Claude Fremy in Amsterdam, still hangs in the tower from its original wooden beams.

Declared a national monument in 1936, from the 1980s the Castle of Good Hope was the subject of an extensive, ongoing restoration programme. It remains the oldest building in Southern Africa and is the best-preserved VOC-built fortification anywhere in the world.

Iziko Museums At The Castle of Good Hope William Fehr Collection

Iziko Museums At The Castle of Good Hope William Fehr Collection
Fine and interesting examples of paintings and decorative arts of special relevance to the Cape are to be found in the William Fehr Collection displayed in the Castle, South Africa's earliest extant building. Waiting to be discovered is a wealth of historical information concerning the peoples and landscapes of early colonial South Africa. Contained in the collection is a wealth of historical information concerning the peoples and landscapes of early colonial South Africa. It is one of the most important public collections of artefacts of the period. The original balcony was built in 1695, then rebuilt in its present form by the VOC between 1786 and 1790. The bas-relief on the pediment was created by the German sculptor, Anton Anreith.

The William Fehr Collection is a unique and important public collection of artefacts of this period. Furniture, paintings, porcelain and silver, highlighting the Cape of Good Hope as a confluence of East and West. Its programme of contemporary art includes multimedia installations and photographic exhibitions. There are two gallery spaces, the Good Hope Gallery and B Block.

Contact Castle of Good Hope

Visiting address: C/O Darling and Buitenkant Streets, Cape Town, 8001
Postal address: PO Box 1, Cape Town, 8000
Tel: +27 21 787 1260
Tour Bookings:+27 21 787 1249
Fax: +27 21 787 1089
E-Mail: cast...@mweb.co.za
Castle of Good Hope on the web: http://www.castleofgoodhope.co.za/

Contact Iziko Museums At The Castle of Good Hope William Fehr Collection

Visiting Address: Buitenkant Street, opposite the Grand Parade, Cape Town
Postal Address: Iziko at the Castle of Good Hope, PO Box 61 Cape Town 8000
Tel: +27 (0)21 464 1260/4
Fax: +27 (0)21 464 1280
Email: i...@iziko.org.za
Iziko Museums At The Castle of Good Hope William Fehr Collection on the web: http://www.iziko.org.za/castle/
Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town as Fortified Place on the web: http://www.fortified-places.com/capetown/
Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town


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