Pretoria, which lies roughly 50 kilometres north of Johannesburg, is the administrative capital, one of three capital cities in South Africa. Stand on the slope at the Union Buildings and look towards the Pretoria CBD (central business district) and you will get a real idea of the number of official and historical buildings in town - there are some notable structures that dominate the skyline including the State Theatre and the Reserve Bank of South Africa with its famous office tower.
Whilst the controversy over changing the city's name to Tshwane continues, it is an interesting aside that the city was initially called Pretoria Philadelphia - Pretoria of brotherly love.
There are any number of reasons for visiting Pretoria's centre. There are historic buildings, monuments and museums that include the Pretoria City Hall (in front of it is one of the city's most beautiful parks - Pretorius Square) and Church Square, which is also home to the statue of Paul Kruger, State President when the country was known as the South African Republic. This particular statue was commissioned by Sammy Marks, of Sammy Marks Museum fame (worth a visit in its own right, but east of the CBD in Zwartkoppies).
Just near Church Square in the CBD is the Transvaal Museum, the country's leading natural history museum, which although it has changed venues a number of times, has been around since 1892 (take in the Discovery Centre for a hands-on experience of nature and science).
Other places worth visiting in the Pretoria CBD are the Pretoria Zoo, which is anything but a series of caged animals, the Tshwane Tourism office in the building next to the Ou Raadsaal, Melrose House Museum in Jacob Maré Street, the National Cultural History Museum and Burgers Park, the oldest park in the city and now a national monument.
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