BLOEMFONTEIN CELEBRATES ITS 170th ANNIVERSARY

PUBLISHED 4 APR 2016   

Bloemfontein celebrated two important anniversaries on 2 April 2016. Not only is the Free State capital celebrating its 170th anniversary, but one of the oldest military units in the city, the School of Armour, is 50-years-old.

Bloemfontein was established under British colonial rule in 1846. Its proud history also includes the formation of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1912.  Many of our country’s finest sport heroes hail from here.  Think of Ryk Neethling, Hansie Cronje, Zola Budd and many more.

The Mangaung Metro wants the Free State capital to make its mark as a city of the future.

Following are a few interesting facts that form a strong foundation for this vision and that make Bloemfontein already one of the best cities to live in:

  • Bloemfontein is the sixth-largest city in the country and is the capital of the Free State province.

  • Bloemfontein is the judicial capital of South Africa and home to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

  • Bloemfontein has an estimated population of +/- 370,000 people.

  • Bloemfontein boasts some of the best schools in the country.  Eunice and Oranje are two of South Africa’s top girls boarding schools, while Grey College, the 3rd oldest school in South Africa and the oldest school North of the Orange River, is also situated in Bloemfontein.

  • The Free State is known as South Africa’s bread basket, as 70% of the country’s grain is produced in the region.

  • During the Second Anglo-Boer War (also called the South African War), one of the largest concentration camps was located in Bloemfontein where it is estimated that 45 000 people perished, many of them women and children. Today the National Women’s Memorial just outside the city serves as a reminder of this great tragedy.

  • The Mangaung Fire Station Museum at Ehrlich Park fire station in Bloemfontein is the only fire station museum in the Southern Hemisphere.

  • The Franklin Game Reserve on Naval Hill is currently the only nature reserve in the world to be located in the middle of a city.  The reserve was established in 1930.  Standing atop this geographic wonder, you are provided with an exquisite panoramic view of Bloemfontein.

  • The Naval Hill Planetarium is the first digital planetarium in Sub-Saharan Africa. Situated at the old Lamont-Hussey Observatory in Bloemfontein, the Naval Hill Planetarium offers visitors an immersive experiential journey through the outer reaches of space. The digital dome holds a 12-metre aluminium screen, in addition to a powerful surround-sound system and multiple data projectors, allowing visitors a truly mesmerising experience. This is the closest most people will come to travelling the galaxy.