Price range, per nightmin R max R
*All distances listed are as the crow flies, and not actual travel distances.
Apart from the Union Buildings, Church Square is the best known feature in Pretoria city. It was once the site of a church and market place, with wide streets to outspan ox wagons. Farmers would arrive to attend church services and trade their goods. The market grew over the years, more churches were built and first horse-drawn trams, then later electrified ones, passed by the square. The trams radiated out in all directions to transport the public throughout the city. Magnificent Victorian buildings were constructed, several modelling those of significant European classic buildings.
Today, what was once possibly a barber shop is now a tattoo parlour, a dusty bar now a chic restaurant and lawns and trees planted in the square to provide a place to relax and enjoy a lunchtime break. Wide pedestrian lanes were recently laid out, as was a new public bus service. During the construction, old tram lines were unearthed.
Important buildings located on the square include the Palace of Justice where Nelson Mandela and 10 colleagues stood trial in 1963, the Old Capitol Theatre, a popular cinema venue which has succumbed to the high demand for parking facilities, the restored Tudor Chambers currently used as an office block, the General Post Office, magnificent old banking halls and the Old Council used to house municipal employees. A plaque on the square describes the 21 buildings, the date of construction and architect. The large bronze statue of past South African Republic President Paul Kruger, sculpted by Anton van Wouw and cast in Rome, stands at the centre of the square and was mounted here in 1954.
Church Square is the venue for the annual Lights Carnival held on New Year’s Eve, a free concert represented by some of the country’s top DJs and live acts.
On Wednesday mornings the National Ceremonial Guard raise the national and municipal flags in the square.
Church Square remains the centre of activity in Pretoria and is a great starting point from which to discover the city.