The Voortrekker Monument, a very prominent landmark, is situated on a hilltop to the south of Pretoria. The huge granite structure was designed by Gerhard Moerdyk and was inaugurated on 16 December 1948. The monument commemorates a historic migration to the North by Dutch (Afrikaner) Boers / pioneers in order to escape British rule of the Cape Colony. The 'Great Trek', the sum of various smaller migrations, lasted from about 1835 to 1854.
The Monument is surrounded by a circular wall with linked ox-wagons engraved thereon, which depicts a larger - as often used by the Voortrekkers for protection. Especially when under attack from African tribes in the interior. On approaching the Monument a large statue of a woman with two children greet you. It honours the role women played during the Trek. Most of the Monument's interior consists of a large mostly-empty space. Along the walls of the monument large Italian marble friezes depict historical scenes from the Trek, more or less in chronological order.
In the centre of the floor a circular cut-out with a low wall provides a view down onto a commemorative cenotaph located in a spacious basement. High above, in the domed ceiling of the monument a strategically placed hole aims a beam of sunlight onto the cenotaph at exactly 12:00 noon on the 16th of December each year. It commemorates 'The Day of The Vow', when the Voortrekkers made a pact with God before facing the mighty Zulu's in a crucial battle - which came to be known as The Battle of Blood River.
The basement also contains a display of tapestries that depicts life on the Trek. This hall leads to a museum, with household and other articles from the time of the Trek on display. There is an annual Christian service in the monument on the Day of the Vow, an important historical date for Afrikaners (descendants of the pioneers) culminating with the beam of sunlight falling onto the cenotaph at 12:00.
Tour popular attractions in Pretoria, the Executive Capital of South Africa, including the Voortrekker Monument, Church Square, the Kruger House and the Union Buildings. The city was named after the Voortrekker (pioneer) leader Andries Pretorius. It borders Johannesburg to the north.
Highlights: Pretoria , Voortrekker Monument , Kruger House , Union Buildings .
Pretoria is the executive Capital of South Africa. Pretoria was named after the Voortrekker (Boer pioneer) leader Andries Pretorius. It falls under the metropolitan municipality of Tshwane. The debate around changing the name of the city to Tshwane is ongoing (2013).
The Kruger House museum in Pretoria was the residence of Paul Kruger, president of the "Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek". The ZAR was one of the two boer republics that were founded after the Great Trek from the Cape Colony. This unimposing house contains furniture and memorabilia that reflects the lifestyle of the period.
The Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, is home to the offices of the State President and the Department of Foreign Affairs. These imposing buildings were originally designed by Sir Herbert Baker for the recently founded Union of South Africa (1910). The inauguration of Nelson Mandela as the first president of the new democratic South Africa also took place at this venue.