While in South Africa this November, I made it a point to go see the union buildings. It’s located in Meintjieskop about 10minutes drive /35minutes walk from where I stayed in Sunnyside, Pretoria. The Union buildings are one of the most recognisable and impressive heritage landmarks of Pretoria and South Africa in general. The 285 metre long sandstone building was designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1910. The buildings represent a decadent layer of South Africa’s history. It was originally built to house the entire Public Service for the Union of South Africa and it was then the largest building in the country.

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Today it is still the official seat of government and houses the offices of the President of South Africa. The union buildings is made from light sandstone and is over 275m long. It’s built in a semi-circle design with two wings at either side. The wings represente the union of a formally divided nation i.e. the English and the Afrikaners.

On the grounds are the Dellville Wood War Memorials, which pay tribute to South African troops who died during the First World War. The terraced gardens are magnificently laid exclusively with indigenous plants and boast a 9000 seat amphitheatre. Also, there are various monuments and statues within the spectacular gardens.

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For international visitors this iconic building is most memorable as the place where Nelson Mandela was inaugurated in 1994 as the first democratically elected leader of South Africa.

Photos by Francisca

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