Saturday, September 26, 2009

Port Natal = Durban

I call the harbour-town of Durban South Africa's "Rio de Janeiro without the Sugar Loaf". On Christmas Day, 1497, Vasco da Gama sailed into the bay & called it "Rio de Natal" (= Christmas-river).

A look from one of the hotel-windows & in the distance, the Bluff = a huge, age-old & petrified sand-dune. In front of it is the harbour entrance (now under construction = being "enlarged"). The view is also across part of the Victoria Promenade = the "Golden Mile".

This "clock" (which no longer keeps "time") was erected to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Durban - it has various names, e.g. Portuguese Clock, Vasco de Gama Clock & Fountain. At the 500th anniversary, a commemorative stone-plague was placed in front of the memorial.

Probably one of Durban's most beautiful buildings is this Tudor-style house (now part of a theatre-complex) in the centre of town.

The City Hall is situated on Farewell Square - named after Farewell, who together with Fynn, settled at Port Natal (= Durban's name then) in 1824, where the Zulu king at the time, Shaka, granted them land around the bay. Today the City Hall houses the Durban Museum of Natural History as well as the Durban Art Gallery.

Selling "muti" (= traditional medicine) outside the Indian Market in Victoria Street. After the old Indian Market burnt down in 1973, the larger & more "secure" market-building was erected.

The Jama Mushid Mosque (near the Indian Market) is said to be the largest mosque in the southern hemisphere. The first Indians in South Africa arrived in 1860 to work in the sugar plantations. Although most of them were followers of Hinduism, the large population of Indians (between 1-and-half to 2 million) living in South Africa today also includes many Muslims.

One of many Hindu temples situated in Durban.

Did you know that Mahatma Ghandi spent 21 years in South Africa (from 1893-1914)? Although he arrived as a lawyer he left the country as a politician - he already formulated his doctrine of passive resistance whilst living in SA.

To end today - a lovely sunrise (because the view is towards the East) as seen across the Indian Ocean from a hotel window along Durban's Golden Mile.

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