Located in the heart of Cape Town, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving structure in South Africa with incredible history. Easily recognized by its mustard yellow exterior and stunning backdrop view of Table Mountain, the castle continues to draw tourists to its location as a popular attraction. The castle has several scheduled tours throughout the day including a Castle After Dark tour, where visitors can explore the supposedly haunted hallways in the evening. The historic site so revered that its common that concerts and parties are hosted at the castle. Before booking your tickets to venture through its sacred grounds, here are some things you should know about the Castle of Good Hope.
It took 13 years to build
The construction of the castle started in 1666 and finally completed in 1679. The castle has stood for more than three centuries, surviving through wars and terrible weather. The castle is so well-preserved that it’s reputed to be among the most well-kept structures from the 17th century in the world.
You can see the jail cells as they were centuries ago
Hundreds of people were imprisoned here during the Second Boer War and the jail cells were never removed. Today, tourists can browse through the cells to learn of its past prisoners’ poor conditions. Drunk soldiers were also locked up within these walls as punishment, and up to 20 prisoners would be crammed into one cell. Visitors will notice inscribed messages and lettering scratched by former inhabitants.
The building housed multiple services and businesses
In addition to holding jail cells, the Castle of Good Hope also housed a bakery, banquet hall, church, living quarters and various other services. Keep in mind, when you walk through the rooms, you may notice an occasional horseshoe hung up in several areas, they were put there for good luck. If you happen to see a horseshoe turned upside down, former residents were warning others that the room is where “luck has run out.”
It’s supposedly haunted
Lore has it, there is a ghostly figure that haunts the pool at the Castle of Good Hope. Her name is Anne Barnard, a former lady of the house who is reported to be found sunbathing occasionally in her naked form. Not to mention, there have been hundreds of known executions that occurred at this castle, including a famous Zulu king. Some locals believe his vengeful spirit still lives on the premises. Enter if you dare. Daredevils may want to join the Castle After Dark tour to learn more about its sinister past.
It currently operates as a military museum
While admiring the well-preserved piece of historic architecture, you can also go into its own military museum where you’ll learn all about the armed forces during the 17th and 18th century. Among the artifacts you’ll find in the museums are old weapons, canons, uniforms and everyday living household items.
You can attend a rave in the castle (yes really!)
The castle has space that can be rented out, so people who like to live larger than life can use the venue as a party or a rave. Monitor the website for any upcoming, open parties that you can attend and you can check off one more crazy thing you’ve done on your bucket list.
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