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Pretoria: Afrikaner heritage and a newly named urban area

history & culture

The former fiefdom of white domination has been renamed Tshwane, though the administrative area retains the name Pretoria. An indispensable stop on the quest to understanding the country's history.

With its avenues lined with thousands of jacaranda trees and its imposing architecture, Pretoria remains a crucial place for understanding the political history of South Africa.

The administrative capital of the country includes important historical monuments such as the Union Building, the seat of government where Nelson Mandela gave his inaugural address in 1994, and the Voortrekker Monument, a tribute to Afrikaner history. Elsewhere, there is the courthouse, with its beautiful facade adorned with balconies, the location of Mandela's 1963 treason trial that ended with his life sentence. There is also the home of the iconic Paul Kruger, a former president of the Transvaal.

Among other things, Pretoria hosts the largest university in the country, the Pretoria Art Museum and its fine collection of traditional and contemporary art, and the National Zoological Gardens. This 80-hectare space is home to vast enclosures of more than 2,500 representatives of the local fauna, an aquarium, a vivarium, and a splendid collection of exotic trees.

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