Grand Parade and City Hall

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In Cape Town

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Table Mountain forms the backdrop for Cape Town’s Grand Parade, the city’s main public square. It is also home to its unmistakable City Hall, made famous when Nelson Mandela used its balcony for his first public address to South Africa and the world after his release from prison in 1990, and again following his election as president in 1994.

The City Hall was built in 1905 in the Italian Renaissance style, and is one of the last Victorian-style sandstone structures in the Mother City. It is home to the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, which regularly performs concerts there.

Visitors can view the building’s beautiful mosaic floors, marble staircase, vintage stained glass and a 3 165-pipe organ, especially designed for the hall by Norman Beard. The building’s classical Darling Street facade and an impressive scale replica of London’s Big Ben are of particular interest to visitors who have also been to London.

While today, the square is generally used as a marketplace and parking area, it has also been the venue of major political rallies and, most recently, was a fan park venue for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The Castle of Good Hope, South Africa’s oldest building, is just across the road from the Grand Parade.