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Museums, Theaters, Architecture in Cape Town

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South Africa
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Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is a public not-for-profit contemporary art museum that collects, preserves, researches and exhibits 21st-century art from Africa and its diaspora; hosts international exhibitions; develops supporting educational and enrichment programmes; encourages intercultural understanding, and guarantees access for all. The galleries, spread over several floors, are dedicated to a large cutting-edge collection gallery; exhibition galleries; and Centres for Art Education, Curatorial Training, Performative Practice, Photography, and the Moving Image.
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Robben Island Museum
Robben Island is famous, or rather infamous, as the holding place for the imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Mandela served 18 of his 27 years in prison incarcerated on the island’s prison, but Robben Island has also housed a hospital, mental institution, leper colony and military base during its rich history.
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The Labia Theatre
The Labia Theatre is one of Cape Town’s favourite lesser-known attractions. The locals, of course, know it very well. It’s one of Cape Town’s favourite things to do, especially on nights when there’s a dinner special running.
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GFI Art Gallery
This Art Gallery is unique in South Africa and possibly the world, as a corporate collection being devoted to the science of aviation. It houses the complete collection of 150 paintings and sketches as published in his book of 1989 "A Portrait of Military Aviation in South Africa".
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Sterkfontein Caves
n the small village of Issiglio, in the Canavese district, lying between the beautiful valley of Chiusella and the main town of that region, Ivrea, Piemonte, on the 6 September 1857 Guglielmo Martinaglia was born. He discover the caves.
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Apartheid Museum
The Apartheid Museum is the story of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and oppression. Beginning in 1948, the white elected National Party government initiated a process that turned more than 20 million people into 2nd class citizens, damning them to a life of servitude, humiliation and abuse. Their liberation in 1994 was the climax of a nation’s resistance, courage and fortitude. The path through the museum leads you on a journey beginning with segregation, the cornerstone of apartheid. It takes you back through the history of the myriad cultures converging during the pre-apartheid era, through the years of race classification, the 150 acts of apartheid, detentions and the oppression of the nationalist regime. You will examine the rise of black consciousness and the armed struggle, and finally witness the release of Nelson Mandela after 27 years of imprisonment which led to the negotiations for peace.
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Gold Reef City
Living and breathing 24 hours a day, Gold Reef City has something for everyone. Our casino complex is constantly alive with excitement and energy. Enjoy thrilling gaming in the casino and stand a chance to win in one of its many exciting promotions. Watch world-class productions at The Lyric, or catch the latest blockbusters in a Victorian train station-themed movies@ cinema complex. Have fun in a action-packed Ten-Pin Bowling alley and enjoy mouth-watering dining at a wide variety of restaurants and fast food outlets. Gold Reef City exhilarating Theme Park includes 18 thrill rides, 13 dedicated rides for the kiddies, Jump City Trampoline Park, the only authentic underground mine tour in Johannesburg and other great attractions. Gold Reef City gives you an incredible variety of fun things to do in Johannesburg, all in one exciting destination. Come and play, relax and enjoy world-class entertainment.
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Nirox Park
It is located on 15 hectares of landscaped gardens and waterways within an extensive private nature reserve in the heart of the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. NIROX Sculpture Park is 45 minutes from the centers of Johannesburg and Tshwane.
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Afronova Gallery
AFRONOVA GALLERY, based in Africa’s powerhouse, Johannesburg, is the brainchild of the dynamic duo Emilie Demon and Henri Vergon who are developing and consolidating an innovative model of gallery together with some of the most progressive and influential artists in South Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. In recent years, AFRONOVA GALLERY showcased artists from the continent in prestigious international platforms like The Armory Show, Art Paris, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in New York and London. The gallery enjoys collaborations with important institutions like the PAC Milan, Iziko South African National Gallery, The Studio Museum, The Smithsonian Institution, Mass Mocca, as well as foundations like Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, Prada Fondazione in Milan, Fondation des Galeries Lafayette in Paris, JP Morgan Chase in New York, La Maison Rouge in Paris.
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Carlton Centre
If you want a bird’s-eye view of Johannesburg, the 50-storey Carlton Centre is the place to go. Visitors to the centre can enjoy a panoramic view of the City of Gold from the Top of Africa, as the topmost floor of the building is known: 360 degrees of dense cityscape and outwards towards the countryside and beyond. The tallest building in Africa and once the tallest building in the southern hemisphere, the Carlton Centre stands 223m high – about 40m shy of featuring on the world’s top 100 skyscrapers list. However, this feat of architecture makes the centre one of the must-see Johannesburg attractions. Construction was a lengthy process, beginning in 1967 and ending in 1974, although the centre officially opened in 1973. The Carlton Centre complex was once home to the five-star, 30-storey Carlton Hotel, which was prime accommodation in Gauteng and popular with the rich and famous. Former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former President of France François Mitterrand, Hillary Clinton, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and singers Whitney Houston and Mick Jagger count among the hotel’s many famous guests. The Carlton Centre building was bought by state-owned freight company Transnet in 1999 and the upper floors house offices while in the lower floors there is a popular shopping centre. The entrance to the lift which takes you to the Top of Africa viewing deck can be found in the lower levels of the mall.
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Absa Museum
As the only banking and money museum in South Africa, it is the custodian, not only of South Africa’s banking history, but also of the economic, political, and social changes that are often so dramatically reflected in these currencies
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Constitution Hill
Constitution Hill represents South Africa’s dark past and its bright post-apartheid future. Johannesburg’s most notorious historic prisons (all of them now museums) sit side by side with the home of the Constitutional Court, a symbol of South Africa’s triumphant democracy. The site is located on the ridge between two city neighbourhoods, Hillbrow and Braamfontein, overlooking central Johannesburg, and is one of the most important tourist attractions in South Africa. In the old prison blocks visitors can learn more about South Africa’s difficult path towards freedom and democracy from the extensive permanent museum exhibitions that include personal testimonies from former prisoners and warders and installations. There are also a number of guided tours of the complex which give further insight into the the significance of this heritage landmark and a small cafe called The Hill is open for refreshments once you have finished exploring.
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Adler Museum of Medicine
The Adler Museum of Medicine preserves the history of the health sciences in Southern Africa, with special reference to Gauteng. It supplements the educational activities of the University, especially the Health Sciences, by means of collections, research, teaching, exhibitions and publications. The Museum contains interesting and invaluable collections depicting the history of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy through the ages. Apart from the hundreds of items of medical historical interest on display, there are also documents, sculptures, pictures, videos and philatelic and medallion collections relating to medical history as well as the history of allied health sciences. The Museum has a library of rare books and a significant history of medicine reference library. In addition, a rich archive arranged by subject matter is housed in the library, and biographical information relating to thousands of medical and allied health professionals is available to students, researchers and interested members of the public.
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BERGTHEIL MUSEUM
Named after Jonas Bergtheil, this museum is situated in the leafy suburb of Westville, almost midway between Durban and Pinetown. The museum is housed in Westville’s oldest building (c.1840) featuring massive stone walls and hand-hewn timber floorboards.
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African Art Centre
The Durban African Art Centre Association provides thousands of unemployed artists and craftspeople with opportunities of self-employment and economic upliftment and the ability to earn a sustainable living.
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The Kruger House Museum
The last house in which President Paul Kruger was to live, between 1883 and 1901, before he left South Africa to go into exile in Europe, the Kruger House Museum lies just a few blocks from Church square, where his bronze statue takes centre stage facing the Palace of Justice.
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The Melrose House
Melrose House is a charming historical museum that can be found in Jacob Maré Street in the picturesque town of Pretoria. Conveniently perched across from Burger's Park, it is elegant and a remnant of the colonial South Africa of times past.
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Old Bulawayo
The story of the Ndebele from when they are forced out from present-day South Africa by a coalition of Afrikaners, Griquas and Zulu to the establishment of modern-day Bulawayo can appear confusing. During Mzilikazi’s reign as King there are four different capitals (Gibxhegu, Mahlokohloko, Inyathi and Mhlahlandleia) He was succeeded by Lobengula who established a new Gibxhegu and then renames it koBulawayo (this is the where the Site Museum is situated) and finally Umhlabathini, or the second koBulawayo, the site of modern-day State House. This was in keeping with tribal custom; the royal towns of Matabele kings were never intended to be permanent and whenever a King died, the capital moved and the old royal town was burned.
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Khami Ruins
Khame Ruins are perhaps the least known of Zimbabwe's five World Heritage sites. Situated just 22 kilometres outside of Bulawayo, Khame was the capital of the Torwa state between 1450 and around 1683, after the capital at Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo was abandoned. It was a trading centre, as attested by the artefacts discovered here and the ruins are not places of defence but were prestige buildings designed to demonstrate Torwa wealth. Human evidence at the site can be traced back to the Early Stone Age, approximately 0.4 to 1.4 million years ago.
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Bulawayo National Art Gallery
Housed in one of the country’s finest monuments, the National Gallery in Bulawayo is a unique facility, which holds invigorating and challenging exhibitions. Douslin House where the Gallery is housed in more than 100 years today. Its architectural splendor makes evident the gallery’s own goal of aesthetic appreciation and artistic aim. As custodians of a growing Zimbabwean heritage, Art Gallery is tasked with the creative and intellectual discipline to select, to nurture and commend outstanding works of visual art, to select and display pivotal works, to generate and improve upon existing talent, to train and develop artistic skills, to educate, to empower, to mediate, and mostly to celebrate. Freed from some of the influences and concerns, which dominate other provinces in Zimbabwe, the unique thrust of the National Gallery in Bulawayo is its desire to dissolve barriers between art and its audience, to establish a consistent dialogue and intimacy. The personality of this gallery is embodied in its transparent windows in the Lower Gallery, which allow passers-by to view current exhibitions while going on about their daily business.
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Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe
The Natural Museum of Zimbabwe located in the Centenary Park in Bulawayo, was built in 1962, and in 1982 all the natural science collections were moved here and it was renamed the Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe. With its stunning displays and valuable research, collections are the best museum in Southern Africa and rank fourth in size among the museums of Africa. It is an impressive circular building with nine public display galleries, a lecture hall with a seating capacity of 120 people, a cafeteria, and eight research departments with substantial study collections and ongoing research in the following disciplines: Arachnology and Invertebrates; Entomology; Ornithology; Mammology; Herpetology; Ichthyology; Geology and Paleontology; Archaeology and Monuments.
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Museu Nacional de Antropologia
Dedicated to educating people about the history and culture of Angola, the National Museum of Anthropology has a collection of over 6,000 objects and artefacts, ranging from arts, masks, musical instruments, tools, fabrics, jewelry and weaponry. There are also cultural exhibits on traditional religion, female societal rites, and other traditional ceremonies.
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Saint Michael's Fortress
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, Säo Miguel fort was built in 1576 by Paulo Dias de Novais who founded the city of Luanda. In 1627, the fort became the administrative colony and was a major outlet for slave traffic to Brazil. With thick walls fitted with cannons, it was a fortified enclosure, and it remained the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Army in Angola until 1975. The fort presently houses the National Museum of Military History.
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Zafimaniry Art
The Zafimaniry occupy a mountainous area to the southeast of Ambositra and have developed an exceptional architectural art across the ages. Doors and windows are elaborated in wood and sculpted in the form of geometric figures representing the Zafimaniry universe. Registered as a UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Site, this incredible art will impress you. The Zafimaniry use 20 different species of endemic trees, each one is adapted to a specific type of construction or decorative function. The geometric motifs which decorate the shutters and windows of these wooden houses are reminiscences of magic signs designed to protect the community and to testify to its links with its environment. This is the peculiarity of their art: in the ties that the Zafimaniry weave between themselves and with nature.
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Dar National Museum
The Dar es Salaam National Museum is a site that showcases the history of Tanzania and is located at the centre of Dar es Salaam's CBD - Tanzania. It is the oldest in the country and has three large buildings. The museum was first established in 1934 by then governor of Tanganyika Harold MacMichael [1] but was not opened to the public until 1940. Since then two more buildings have been added, with the last one being the culture wing in 2011. Find out more about the history of Tanzania from as early as the 6th century or even earlier if you consider the displays about the origin of mankind; However, most of the actual information is on stories and not in the actual pictures. There are no video or audio explanations, thus a lot of reading is required to gain any information, unless of course if you got a guided tour. There also are two libraries near the entrance, one for children and one for adults. Each of these is equipped with tablets from which to browse the library's archives.
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Village Museum
Kijiji cha Makumbusho - No one interested in the local culture should miss out on this museum. Open-air display of traditional habitats and crafts. The Village Museum was established in 1996. This museum was established for the purpose of demonstrating and preservation of traditional cultures of Tanzania. Visiting the village museum is like visiting the whole of Tanzania ethnic groups. The museum displays traditional huts of about 16 different Tanzanian ethnic groups. The idea of a ‘village museum’ seems a curious paradox ­is it a village, or is it a museum? Perhaps it is neither in the conventional sense. It is certainly not a living village, but rather a collection of authentically furnished homesteads representing some of Tanzania’s many different rural cultures. Nor is it a museum in the traditional sense (there is not a glass case to be seen). All 16 houses can be entered, and there are plenty of objects to see and handle. The Kiswahili word ‘makumbusho’, ‘reminders’, is more apt here than the English ‘museum, with its classical muse associations. Herein lies not only the unique charm of the place but also the real importance of the site.
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Stone Town
It may not have a particularly romantic name, but Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar, little changed in the last 200 years. It is a place of winding alleys, bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. Stone Town was recently and deservedly declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
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Mombasa Tusks
Two giant pairs of intersecting tusks located at the entrance of the city, along Moi Avenue forming dual archways over each side of the road. The tusks which form an interesting ‘M’ were made from aluminium in 1952 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s visit.
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Fort Jesus
Designed in the shape of a man and built in 1593 by the Portuguese, Fort Jesus is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
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Kenya Railway Museum
Kenya Railway Museum (Nairobi Railway Museum) is located in an old railway building along Uhuru Highway. It provides answers to many unanswered questions concerning the early history of the rail and Kenya’s development. Nairobi Railway museum consists of the Main Gallery, the Resource Center, the auditorium and an outdoor collection of locomotives, wagons and coaches.
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Lamu Museums
Lamu Museums are located in the North Coast, a World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful & serene locations on the African continent. Museum attractions include the Lamu Museum, Lamu Fort, German Post Office, Swahili House and the Takwa Ruins.
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Nairobi National Museum
The Museum aims to interpret Kenya’s rich heritage and offers a one stop for visitors to sample the country’s rich heritage both for education and leisure. In addition to the museum, visitors are treated to a variety of shopping and dining facilities, as well as botanical gardens that offer a serene environment.
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Terra Kulture
There is only one institution that can pride itself as Nigeria’s Cultural Centre. And that’s none other than the inimitable Terra Kulture – the arts, entertainment and educational hub that has been at the fore-front of redefining Nigeria’s cultural landscape over the last decade.
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Old Colonial Houses
These houses were built in Brazillian and British architecture and are mainly in Ebute-Metta, Yaba and Lagos Island.
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Osu Castle
Osu Castle, formerly known as Christiansburg, was built in 1659 and named after King Christian V of Denmark. Throughout its history, the Castle changed hands among foreign competitors several times until the early 1920s.
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Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum
This magnificent monument on High Street was erected in honour of Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, a great Pan-Africanist who led the country to Independence in 1957. T
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