Castle of (not so) Good Hope

Yesterday we decided to stay in the city and walk around. First we went to the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town’s oldest colonial buildings. In this one building you can see an entire history of bloodshed, slavery, torture and conflict. This castle, which served as a fort, is the city’s first defensive structure, built by the Dutch in the 17th century fearing an eventual attack from the British. Over the ages it has been fortified and ironically enough, during its existence as a denfense sturcture it was never a target for direct attacks. Inside one of the buildings inside you can see a collection of old furniture and artworks, mainly paintings, from every century. The paintings depict mostly ships at see with Table Mountain in the background. You can also see some portraits of governors and their wifes, and some portraits of Black people, nameless of course.

I found the most interesting part to be the Military Museum in which you can read and see the long history of the building and most importantly the succession of the endless invasions, battles, peace treaties, power struggles, etc., all to insure sovereignty over this very strategic city: Portuguese, Dutch, British and French; the powers that “were”. New powers versus old powers… the battle of all times…

After visiting the museum we took a little tour around the castle, including the torture dungeons, arms and ammunition storage room. The castle is built in a pentagon shape and each corner of the pentagon is watch and defense point and each has a Dutch name.

The castle has several functions nowadays. It still serves as a military base, mainly for recruitment, and as a venue for events. And for that they use the old dining room and in-house restaurants, but they can also set up special tents in one the yards.

After our visit to the castle we walked around the city centre with its beautiful buildings, mueseums, galleries, gardens. A feast for the eyes!

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