One of the most common questions I get when I tell people that I am from Tshwane is “What is Pretoria famous for?”
As someone who was born and bred in Pretoria and is fascinated by history, I have amassed a small collection of interesting Pretoria facts you might enjoy as well.
Pretoria (now known as Tshwane) was initially inhabited Pretoria by the Sotho and Ndebele people then the Voortrekkers (Boers) arrived, took control, and defeated the indigenous tribes. By 1855 all tribal people had left the area and Pretoria became a Dutch Colony.
Interesting Pretoria Facts
We did some research into “Jakaranda City” and learned 50 interesting facts about Pretoria:
Historic Facts about Pretoria
- Pretoria was founded in 1855 and named after General Andries Pretorius – the father of the leader of the Voortrekkers, Marthinus Pretorius.
- The city is home to the largest population of white Africans on the continent.
- Pretoria is one of South Africa’s three capital cities and serves as the seat of the executive branch of government.
- Tshwane is home to over 130 embassies, representing the second largest concentration after Washington D.C.
- During the South African War (1899–1902), Winston Churchill was imprisoned in Pretoria until his escape in 1899.
Economic Pretoria Facts
- Pretoria is amongst the six largest metropolitan municipalities in South Africa and the second largest in Gauteng (after Johannesburg).
- The City has a vibrant and diverse economy, which enables it to contribute at least 26,8% of the Gauteng Province’s GDP and 9,4% of the GDP of the national economy.
Archeological Pretoria Facts
- Tswaing is an impact crater in South Africa (40 km to the northwest of Pretoria). It was caused 220 000 years ago when a blazing stony meteorite the size of half a football field slammed into the earth`s crust. The impact formed a crater, 1,4 km in diameter and 200 m deep.
- The Cullinan Diamond (the largest diamond ever found) was discovered near the city in 1905.
- Mrs. Ples – one of the oldest intact skulls of a distant ancestor of humankind, is housed at the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria.
Iconic Sites: Facts about Pretoria
- Pretoria is home to the country’s largest research and development institution, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
- The South African State Theatre is also based in Pretoria.
- The Republic of South Africa’s Presidents office is at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. – They were designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1910 and completed in 1913 to symbolize the unity of a divided people (notably the English and Afrikaners).
- Church Street (now known as Stanza Bopape Street) is the largest street in Pretoria and one of the longest straight streets in the world.
- Pretoria Zoo is one of the eight largest zoos in the world and one of the most highly rated.
More Fun Things To Do In Pretoria
Know any Pretoria Facts that should be on this list?
I’ve left the comments section below open. If you have any other facts about Pretoria that you think we should add, let me know and we’ll pop them in.