Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Historical Winelands

The Afrikaans Language Monument in Paarl (by the architect Jan van Wyk) symbolises the wonder of South Africa's cultural & political growth. The Afrikaans language developed from Dutch but was also influenced by Malayan (= slaves brought to SA) & African languages. It still is a "young" language & was only officially accepted as such in 1925. The Language monument was built to commemorate this in 1975.

When visiting this monument, situated high on a hill, one is "greeted" by a magnificent sight of historical winelands. On a clear day, Table Mountain forms the "backdrop".

A "classical" winelands-tour includes the quaint little town of Franschhoek - with a monument dedicated to the French Hugenots, who came to South Africa in 1688 & really "set the ball rolling" with regard to the wine production in this region.

Situated next to the monument is a museum also dedicated to the French Hugenots. The building is a reconstruction of Saasveld, a mansion which once "graced" Kloofstreet in Cape Town - with the majestic Hottentots-Holland mountains in the background.

In the historical town of Stellenbosch, many restored houses line especially Dorp Street - like Saxenhof, a double-storey Georgian house.

Another well-preserved house is La Gratitude, which was built as the private residence (> parsonage) for a reverend. His deep religious belief is illustrated in the gable of the building in the form of the "All-seeing eye of God".

The Powder House (= ammunition magazine), situated at The Braak (= parade ground) in Stellenbosch was built in 1777. The neo-classical bell-tower was added 20 years later.

A tour of the winelands always includes visiting a wine estate - in this case Neethlingshof with its attractive tree-lined entrance.

Rural bliss = attractive scenery of vineyards, cattle grazing unperturbed & with magnificent mountains forming the backdrop - that's all part of a typical winelands tour!

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