10 Most Iconic Buildings in Cape Town

Cape Town
Cape Town | © Jess Stafford/Culture Trip

Freelance Writer - instagram.com/andrewthompsonsa

Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa with dozens of beautiful and historical buildings scattered around the inner city. Many of these buildings are still in use as commercial or residential properties, while others have been converted into museums. Read on to discover some of the most iconic buildings in Cape Town.

1. Castle of Good Hope

Building

1. Castle of Good Hope
© Jess Stafford / Culture Trip
The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest colonial building in South Africa, built by Dutch colonialists between 1666 and 1679. The pentagonal fort served as the seat of military and government operations for over two centuries. It’s open to the general public and offers a fascinating insight into Cape Town’s cultural past.

2. South African Museum

Museum

Delville Wood Memorial and Iziko SA Museum, The Companys Garden, Cape Town, Western Cape Province, Republic of South Africa
© Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy Stock Photo
The South African Museum has been a Company’s Garden institution for over a century. Founded by Lord Charles Somerset in 1825, the South African Museum has been situated in its current location since 1897. The museum is operated by Iziko Museums of South Africa and houses fascinating zoology, archaeology, and palaeontology collections, a planetarium, and a variety of temporary exhibitions.

3. Slave Lodge

Building, Museum

The Slave Lodge is the second oldest building in Cape Town and has a stark, sombre history. It was built by the Dutch East India Company in 1679 to house the thousands of slaves brought to Cape Town during the 17th through 19th centuries. After slavery was abolished, the Slave Lodge served as government offices, a supreme court, and the SA Cultural History Museum. In 1998, the building was converted into a museum that today explores the long history of slavery in South Africa. The museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions raise awareness of and address issues around human rights.

4. St. George’s Cathedral

Cathedral, Church

4. St. George’s Cathedral
© Culture Trip
St. George’s Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in southern Africa and is the mother church of the Anglican diocese of Cape Town. The beautiful cathedral, boasting high arches and stained-glass windows, was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and completed in 1936. The cathedral is renowned for its oppositional stance during apartheid and is a symbol of democracy in South Africa. Affectionately known as the ‘people’s church,’ the cathedral was a common meeting point for political activists of all races during the apartheid struggle.

5. Bo-Kaap Museum

Museum

Bo-Kaap Museum
© Jess Stafford/Culture Trip
The Bo-Kaap Museum was originally a residential house, built between 1763 and 1768, in the former Malay Quarter known as the Bo-Kaap. The house is a rare example of early Cape Dutch architecture. After restorations in the 1970s, the house was opened as a museum showcasing artifacts of Muslim cultural heritage. Today the museum is run by Iziko Museums and offers unique insight into the history of Cape Town and Muslim culture.

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