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South Africa Holiday: Pretoria Church Square

Church Square is the historic centre of Pretoria. It was founded in 1855 on the orders of Marthinus  Pretorius to be a place for market and church purposes. During its early days the square was also served as a sports field.

Several historically and architecturally significant buildings surround the square: the Palace of Justice, the Old Capitol Theatre, the Tudor Chambers, the Ou Raadsaal (Old Council Chamber) and the General Post Office.  Paul Kruger Street in Pretoria forms an axis between the Pretoria Station and Church Square.
The turreted Palace of Justice forms part of the northern façade of Church Square. Dating from the end of the 19th century, it was designed in the typical Italian Renaissance style by Dutch architect Sytze Wierda.
Headquarters of the Gauteng Supreme Court, it was the scene of arguably the most famous political trial in South Africa's history, the Rivonia Trial. During this trial leading members of the African National Congress (ANC), including Nelson Mandela, were charged with treason and subsequently incarcerated.
Today the bronze statue of Paul Kruger occupies the centre stage in Church Square. Statues of four anonymous Boer citizen-soldiers surround that of Kruger's on a lower level of the plinth.
Sammy Marks commissioned Anton van Wouw (1862-1945) in 1896 to create the statue and the pedestal was ready in 1900. The bronze figures were cast in Italy at the turn of the century, but it was not until 1954 that it was installed in Church Square. First placed in front of Princes Park, and later in front of the Pretoria Station, it was moved to Church Square and unveiled by Prime Minister D.F. Malan on 10 October 1954.
The Ou Raadsaal on the southern side of the square was designed by Dutch architect Sytze Wierda and erected by JJ Kirkness, a Scotsman from the Orkney Isles in 1887.
Parades have been in the square every Wednesdays from 09:30 to 10:30. The procession consists of members of the National Ceremonial Guard (NCG) and one of the military bands, e.g. the South African Air Force, the South African Navy or the NCG`s own band.
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