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Despite being South Africa’s capital city, Pretoria has often played a supporting role to bold and brash Johannesburg and Cape Town’s cosmopolitan charms. However, when it comes to architectural heritage, the ‘Jacaranda City’ is well-endowed.
From the skyline-dominating Union Buildings and Voortrekker Monument, to the imposing edifices that make up its administrative precincts, Pretoria might almost be deserving of a second moniker: the city of sandstone, brick and granite. But when you look beyond the impressive fašades, soaring columns and linear planes of buildings that were intended to convey power and authority, you’ll find light-filled interiors embellished with decorative touches that are only hinted at from the pavement. Murals, mosaics, domes, galleries, stained glass windows, gleaming brass and impressive woodwork are often hidden from view behind doors that are closed to the public. Even those museums, buildings and places of worship that are open to all have architectural and design features that are easily overlooked unless they’ve been pointed out.
The history of the city and, often, the country too, has been played out in many of the places featured in Hidden Pretoria. This story of our shared heritage deserves to be captured for a new generation so that they recognize the value in the built environment and the need to preserve the past in order to protect the future.
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