Bloemfontein

Raadsaal

Bloemfontein, the capital of the Vry Staat (Free State) province, is a city with 256.185 inhabitans. The majority of the population is Black, 56.1%, followed by whites, 29.8%, and coloureds. Afrikaans is the most spoken first language, 42,5%, followed by Sesotho, 33.4% and then English and Xhosa.

History

Bloemfontein was the original farm of Johannes Nicolaas Brits so it was the owner of that piece of land. Historically it was an Afrikaner settlement but the city was officially founded in 1846 by major Henry Douglas Warden as a british outpost in the Transoranje region. However with colonial policy shifts the region changed into the Orange River Sovereignty and to the Oranje Vry Staat republic in 1854. The city became the capital of OVS and it growth at the same time that the republic growth and developed.  A railway line was built connecting the city to Cape Town in 1890. In 1899 was held in Bleomfontein the Bloemfontein Conference which failed to prevent the outbreak of the Second Boer War. On March 1900 the after the Battle of Paardeberg the british troops capture the city and build a concentration camp nearby. The National Women’s Monument, on the outskirts of the town, pay a tribute to all the victims of the British concentration camps during the war especailly the women. In the period of the Union of South Africa and the Republic of South Africa the city continued to growth becoming one of the biggest south african cities. In this period the city became the sole judicial capital of the country. After the fall of Apartheid the city remain as the judicial capital of the country and it is all an important administrative and industrial center.

Climate

Bloemfontein is located in central South Africa in a plateau with small hills being located at an elevation of 1400 metres. The climate is semiarid with hot summers, sometimes over 35ºc with frequent and intense rain especially in the afternoon and evening. The summer lasts for 6 months in the city. The winter is short, from June to August, and is characterized by sunny days, around 17ºc, and cold nights frequently with below 0º temperatures. In the winter, spring and fall the difference between the maximum and minimum temperature is very big.

Culture

The city is culturally rich. It has a numerous theaters, museums and churches. The most known teater is the Sand Du Plessis one of most modern theatres of South Africa with a capacity of 1000 people and that houses the Free State Symphony Orchestra . It terms of museums, Bloemfontein houses the National Museum, the War Museum (Oorlogsmuseum), the National Afrikaans Literary Museum and the already referred National Women’s Monument (Vrouemonument). The city has a famous two towers Dutch Reformed Church. One important site is the old Raadsaal building with a statue of Christiaan de Wet in that square.

Sports

Various sports are played in Bloemfontein. The most popular are soccer, rugby and cricket. The city has an important soccer team the Bloemfontein Celtics and some of the games of the 2010 World Cup were played in the Free State Stadium. The stadium also host the Central Cheetahs team which play in Super Rugby. The Knights Cricket team represents the Free State and the Northern Cape in various series and it’s located in Chevrolet Park. Another popular sports are Motor Sports, Shooting, Swimming and Rock Climbing. Rugby is the favorite sport of the Boer-Afrikaners in the city.

Education

Bloemfontein is home to a large number of schools. Lessons are generally teacheded in Afrikaans, Sesotho or English. Some schools are bilingual. The University of the Free State (Universiteit van die Vrystaat) is also located in Bloemfontein and is one of the best in the country. There’s also a Central University of Technology.

free-State-Stadium

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