As South Africa’s judicial capital, Bloemfontein has become known through the years as “the central city”, “the hospitable city”, “the congress city” and “the city of roses”. All these designations indicate that it is a city in which not only residents, but also visitors and tourists can feel truly at home and welcome. With its more than 460 000 inhabitants, Bloemfontein offers adequate recreational and entertainment facilities which include public parks, swimming pools, sports fields, a game reserve, shopping malls and a zoo.
A variety of attractions await the visitor to the friendly city, from the unique blend of gracious old world charm to ultramodern, high-tech sophistication. The Civic Center, a modern glass building which serves as the headquarters of the city council, inaugurated in 1991, boasts modern conference facilities, which include, among others, three auditoriums and carious reception areas. The Sand du Plessis Theatre, as one of the world’s most modern and technically advanced theatres, is breathtakingly beautiful, glittering in glamorous gold and magnificent marble.
The original fountain was frequented by game, and known as Mnaung (Place of the Leopards) by the local tribes. In 1840 Johannes Brits was the first person to settle in the vicinity.In 1846, Major Henry Douglas Warden, who built a tiny fort of mud and stones, bought the farm. The fort was named Fort Drury, but there are no remains left today. After 1848, another fort was built on one of the dominant hills. It was called Queen’s Fort. During this time Bloemfontein served as the key British military base on the ventral plains of South Africa. The British abandoned the town in 1854, and the flag of the new Republic of Orange Free State was raised. Bloemfontein remained the capital until the defeat in the Anglo Boer War.
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