Once the tallest building on the Cape shore, the Castle of Good Hope is a historical wonder. Today, this pentagonal land mark is dwarfed by the great buildings of Cape Town. Ride by this historical building on our City Cycle day tour.
The History of this once prominent building
The building was a landmark for sailors who conquered the ocean, on their travels from Europe. Dubbed the Tavern by the sea, Cape Town was a vital stop for replenishment.
The Castle of Good Hope was established by the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The building was constructed in January of 1666. The building was modelled after Fortifications in Europe and the East thus the castle was built in a star formation. It’s the perfect representation of the Cape Dutch Building style of the 17th century.
Slate was sourced from Robben Island, and wood sourced from Houtbay. Construction continued throughout the 17th Century and was finally finished in April 1679. To reflect the harsh African sun, the Building was painted yellow.
This building has been a beacon within the Cape Town community since its inseption- and will forever be an important part of the South African history.
The building process
It’s quite strange that a castle, built as a replenishing station is situated rather deep inland from the seashore. Originally, the building stood at the banks of the Table Bay Shore. Due to land redistribution, the shore was moved to make way for new developments.
The Castle has 5 bastions, all named after the different titles of The Prince of Orange. The Original entrance was situated between Catzenellenbogen and Buuren bastions. The entrance, dubbed Waterpoort, was generally inaccessible during high tide. This entrance is used by the Military today.
During its time as a residence, the Castle housed bakeries, cellars, offices, military rooms, churches, prisons, and various others. One of the Chambers in the Castle is named after Lady Anne Barnard. She was a very influential socialite during the 18th and 19th century.