Bloemfontein is one of the biggest cities in South Africa. The city was one of the 9 host cities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But there’s much more than The Free State stadium & the Cheetahs rugby team to this city.
Here are some interesting facts about Bloemfontein:
- Bloemfontein is the provincial capital of the Free State province and the judicial capital of South Africa. The legislative capital of South Africa is Cape Town and the administrative capital of South Africa is Pretoria.
- Bloemfontein (meaning “fountain of flowers” in Dutch) was founded in 1846 as a fort by Henry Douglas Warden (an English army major).
- The city’s Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning “the place of cheetahs”. The city became part of the Mangaung Local Municipality in the year 2000.
- Bloemfontein has an estimated population of +/- 370,000 people.
- The city is popularly and poetically known as and referred to as “the city of roses”. There are lots of roses in the city of Bloemfontein. An annual rose festival is held in the city.
- Grey College, the 3rd oldest school in South Africa and the oldest school North of the Orange River, is situated in Bloemfontein.
- A railway line was built in 1890 to connect Bloemfontein and Cape Town.
- Allan Donald (South African cricketer), Francois Steyn (Springbok rugby player), Hansie Cronje (former South African cricket team captain), Os du Rant (Springbok rugby player), Ryk Neethling (Olympic gold medalist swimmer), Shaun Morgan (lead vocalist of the band Seether), Zola Budd (international long distance athlete) and J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings) were all born in Bloemfontein.
- The largest fire service museum in South Africa is situated at the Ehrlich Park fire station in Bloemfontein.
- It was forecast at one stage in the 1970s that, because of the rate of desertification, Bloemfontein would be a part of the Karoo by 2030. Contemporary climatologists are not so sure about this though.
I’m sure that there are more interesting things that our readers could add to this list. Please feel free to comment if you have another interesting fact about Bloemfontein.
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