• Iziko South African Museum

    Iziko South African Museum is the oldest museum in South Africa established by Dr Smith in 1823. Visited by Charles Darwin in June 1836, when he came to Cape Town on his circumnavigation of the southern hemisphere on the HMS Beagle. The South African Museum houses more than one and a half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700-million years old to insects and fish caught last week. There are also stone tools made by people 120 000 years ago, traditional clothes from the last century, and T-shirts printed yesterday. Includes exhibitions of rock paintings and engravings, providing evidence of spiritual beliefs and ritual, dating back 80 000 years. In 1897 the Museum moved to its present building in the historic Company’s Garden. Since then millions of visitors have wandered its halls and corridors to be stimulated and inspired by its collections and exhibitions. They have left the Museum with a better understanding of the earth and its biological and cultural diversity, past and present. 25 Queen Victoria Street, Gardens, Cape Town 8000 Daily 09h00 to 17h00 Closed Workers’ Day and Christmas Day Tel: +27 (0)21 481 3800      

  • Belvedere House

    Site of the first synagogue in South Africa. 6 April, 1849 two houses and a store, adjoining the Lodge De Goede Hoop, (first Masonic Lodge in South Africa) purchased for £800 for use as a synagogue and minister’s home. Formally consecrated on 15 September, 1849. Objects of interest: beautiful Masonic gateway, Simon van de Stel Foundation plaque: “On this site stood a house which was used as the first synagogue in South Africa consecrated by the Reverend Isaac Pulver, the first minister, until a synagogue was built facing Government Avenue consecrated on 13 September, 1863”

  • St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral of our Lady of the Flight into Egypt

    6 September, 1841 foundation stone laid. 28 April, 1851 neo-Gothic stucco Cathedral opened by Bishop Griffith (at cost of £11 000); Architect Carl Hager. 1870 bell cast in Ireland donated by Marquis of Bute, designed to be heard by the seamen at the docks. 1891 organ from Hill & Son installed. 1904 Apsidal chapels, designed by Sir Herbert Baker. 1927 sacristy, baptistry and new bell tower added; Architect FM Glennie. 1930s wooden screen donated by Count Labia to commemorate Concordat between the Vatican and Mussolini. 1950 black Italian marble altar by Florenci Cularan installed as Second World War memorial to parishioners who died. Objects of interest: 18th century icon of Our Lady of the Flight in to Egypt; painting of the crucifixion donated by Napoleon III (inside the porch); carved oak pulpit by Tweedie; marble angel by O’Callaghan (1896); stained glass windows of the life of the Virgin Mary by Mayer & Co (1896); stations of the Cross by Maud Sumner (1962); Crown of Thorns light feature by Jan Corewiyn;

  • Dutch Reformed Church – Groote Kerk

    9 April, 1678 first sod turned, making this the oldest church in South Africa. 28 December1700 foundation stone laid by Governor WA van der Stel. 6 January, 1704 first service. 1725 bell weighing more than half a ton crashed to the ground. 1726 new bell made in Amsterdam which still hangs in the Church. 1752 baptismal font made of Cape silver by Johan Hasse installed. August 1770 clock for tower ordered from Amsterdam, added in 1773, replaced in 1829. This is South Africa’s oldest public clock. 1753 organ installed. 1779 Church enlarged. 1789 pulpit carved by Anton Anreith (1775 – 1822) and Jan Jacob Graaff from wood from India (£400). The baroque heraldic lions represent the power of faith. 1800 a second bell installed. 31 January, 1841 Church consecrated after being rebuilt by Herman Schutte 1849 gas lights installed. 1896 electric lights installed. Objects of interest: Architecture a mix of Gothic, Classical and Egyptian styles; Eastern wall and tower with clock are portions of the original building; ceiling of plasterwork is one large arch unsupported by pillars; flagstones of Batavian salt stone; inscriptions in aisles commemorate six early governors buried underneath the floor; tombstones of family vaults are set into Read more [...]

  • St George the Martyr’s Anglican Cathedral

    “The People’s Cathedral”, site of resistance against apartheid. 1897 built in 13th century French Gothic style in Table Mountain Sandstone quarried from Platteklip Gorge; Architect Sir Herbert Baker. 1901memorial stone in buttress adjoining Government Ave laid by Duke of Cornwell and York (later King George V). 1909 organ installed from St Margaret’s Church, Westminster. 1978 decision to extend Church; Architect Revel Fox 1989 Archbishop Desmond Tutu led a mass demonstration of 30 000 people from its steps, where he coined the phrase “Rainbow People” to describe South African’s diverse population. Objects of interest: Great North Window (Francis Skeat) portrays Bernard Mizeki,first African martyr of Anglican Church. Stones from Canterbury Cathedral, Glastonbury Abbey and Winchester Cathedral; bronze cross attached to is a model of an eighth century brooch found under a Canterbury Street; brass Coptic Cross found in Abyssinia, 1868; altar piece is copy of Vicenzo Foppa’s “Adoration of the Maggi” (Henry Duke); painting of “The Rider on the White Horse”, (George Frederick Watts; 1817-1904); painting of St Francis of Assissi (Domenico Zampieri ,1641);painting of Descent from the Cross ( Frank Spears); the “Black Madonna” given by St Peter’s Priory, Johannesburg (1987), carved in lignum vitae and silver(Leon Underwood, 1939), stone Read more [...]

  • Palm Tree Mosque (Jan Buykies Mosque)

    Built in 1780, and only surviving 18th century house in Long Street. 2nd oldest mosque in South Africa.

  • Nurul Islam Mosque

    3rd oldest mosque in South Africa. 1834 first jamaah salaah performed. 27 February, 1844 property acquired.

  • Auwal Mosque 1794

    The oldest madrassha in South Africa, situated in the picturesque Bo-Kaap area, is certainly worth a visit.  It is also the oldest mosque in South Africa Contains hand written Koran written by Tuan Guru.

  • St Stephen’s Church

    17 November, 1800, South Africa’s first theatre, African Theatre, erected by public subscription, was opened here by Sir George Yonge. The building was designed by Louis Thibault who installed oval bull’s eye windows below the roof, replicas of those in Petit Trianon in Versailles, where he had worked for its designer before leaving France 1838 building sold and transformed, during the week, into a school for children of former slaves, and a Sunday School and place of worship for former slaves on Sundays. 1842 became a Dutch Reformed Church for “coloureds” and former slaves. The balcony and stage can still be seen

  • South African Slave Church Museum

    First slave church in Cape Town established by first missionary society in the Cape and now a museum displaying the story of missionary work in the Cape. 1799 mission work begun here. 1804 mission church built in Baroque style. Slaves taught literacy and Christian instruction. Objects of interest: Walls two feet thick, unusual roof, impressive timber pulpit and imported benches. Free entrance.

  • Lutheran Church

    Oldest church building in South Africa. 1774 Martin Melck bequeathed a “wine store and warehouse” for a Lutheran congregation. 1776 first unofficial services held in the “barn”. 23 October, 1779 religious freedom granted them on condition the parson came from Hollan. Andries Lutgerus Kolver appointed. 1791 new façade designed by Anton Anreith. Above the entrance is a swan – the symbol of the Lutheran religion. Octagonal pulpit and reading desk carved by Anton Anreith – the original specifications and agreement with him preserved in the vestry. He also designed the organ loft. 1800 interior rebuilt and redecorated in Cape Gothic style through generosity of Martin Melck. 1814 organ shipped from London 1820 tower clock added Objects of interest: Old Dutch brass alms dishes and Dutch silverware for communal services Building on the left was the sexton’s house, that on the right was the parsonage. Clock and belfry with view over town accessible by circular staircase in one of the buttresses

  • St Andrews Presbyterian Church

    First public building to be lit by gas and the first church in Cape Town to open its membership to blacks. Designed in Grecian Doric style, and built at a cost of £4 000. 1827 foundation stone laid. Every soldier in the Scottish regiment gave one day’s pay towards it. 24 May, 1829 first service held. 1838 St Andrews Scottish Church Mission set up to work with the emancipated slaves. 1842 mission day school established. Today often the venue for chamber music and other concerts. Objects of interest: pews of straight back manufacture, gallery over main entrance.

  • Great Synagogue

    Oldest Jewish congregation in South Africa, established in 1841. The new Baroque style edifice (Architect: John Parker) was opened by congregation President, Hyman Liberman, the Mayor of Cape Town, on 13 September 1905. The foundation stone was laid by Governor Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson. Stained glass windows of Cape flowers and grapes installed in 1936. A new set of stained glass windows installed in 2013. Pulpit transferred from St John’s Street Synagogue.