Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa. It’s also the city where Junk Mail Publishing’s Head Office is located. Pretoria was one of the host cities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But there’s much more to this buzzling metropolis.
Here are 10 interesting facts about Pretoria:
- Many of Pretoria’s streets are lined with Jacaranda trees that blossom mauve (purplish blue) in spring (for 3 weeks in October) giving rise to the city’s nickname “Jacaranda City”. The time of year the Jacarandas bloom in Pretoria coincides with the year-end exams at the University of Pretoria and legend has it that if a flower from the Jacaranda tree drops on your head, you will pass all your exams.
- Church Street is Pretoria’s main street and its also the longest urban street in South Africa and one of the longest straight streets in the world.
- There are more than 40 embassies in Pretoria. It’s the 2nd largest number in the world (behind Washington, D.C. in the United States).
- The Cullinan Diamond (the largest gem diamond ever found) was discovered near the city at the Premier Mine on January 26, 1905.
- Today more than 2.3 million people live in Pretoria.
- Pretoria is one of South Africa’s leading academic cities. The city is home to the University of Pretoria (the largest residential University in South Africa), the Tshwane University of Technology and UNISA (the largest distance education university in the world).
- Pretoria is the home of world’s largest soccer ball. The 50 ton ball sculpture was built around the top of the Lukasrand Telkom tower in the city in anticipation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The ball is 24 meters across and 8 storeys high.
- Mrs Ples, the nickname for what is considered one of the oldest intact skulls of a distant ancestor of humankind dating back over 2-million-years ago is housed at the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria. The skull was discovered at the Cradle of Humankind (a world heritage site) near Johannesburg.
- The Union Buildings (located at Meintjies Kop in Pretoria) is the official seat of the South African Government. Construction on the structure was completed in 1913. The Union Buildings were designed by Sir Herbert Baker. It’s the site of presidential inaugurations in South Africa.
- The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (informally referred to as the Pretoria Zoo) is the national zoo of South Africa. The zoo is located in the Pretoria CBD. The Pretoria zoo was found by J.W.B. Gunning and established in 1899. The zoo became the official National Zoological Gardens in 1916.
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