Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A step up

This “belvedere” on the University of Cape Town's Middle Campus was built in about 1760 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) on Rustenburg Estate. It is the oldest building on the University of Cape Town's Groote Schuur campus. It was designed as a belvedere, a raised structure from which to enjoy an extensive view and to provide a shady retreat in summer. A garden plan that was drawn up in 1791 for Rustenburg House features a drawing of the "Summer House" as the focal point for an avenue of oaks leading up the hillside from the house. When Cecil John Rhodes bought the land for the Groote Schuur estate a century later, he commissioned Sir Herbert Baker to restore the dilapidated belvedere.
According to the plaque on the wall, this belvedere and the "Japonica Walk" in front of it lie on the main axis around which the campus of the University of Cape Town was planned.
The motorway cuts Upper and Middle campus in two, and you can see its crash barriers above the belvedere. The beautiful buildings of the Upper Campus can just be seen in the trees below Devil's Peak. (The other campus, Hiddingh Campus, is in the city of Cape Town.)
For a glimpse into other worlds, see My World Tuesday.

8 comments:

  1. I rather fancy a stroll down the japonica walk

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  2. I bet the majority of Cape Townians doesn't even knoe this exist.

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  3. Until this moment I did not know that 'belvedere' could be used in that way. I only ever thought of it as a proper noun to name something. What a delightful piece of history. And couldn't you just throttle the person who thought it was a GOOD Idea to run the highway through the campus. HOw destructive can politiians be!!!

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  4. Hi Caroline;) Now I know what a belvedere is!Thanks for posting - most interesting. And so beautiful as only Cape Town can be with Devil's Peak it the background. Thanks for visiting my blog. It's good to see a South African while sitting in the HOT North of Africa! Have a good day. Jo (Khartoum)

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  5. I like its background view..the view from the belveder must've been beautiful too.

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  6. I come here for my daily dose of Cape Town, the world's most beautiful place, in my opinion.

    Thanks for sharing the info on this wonderful place.

    Ciao from a Cape Town fan, often silent, but always present.

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  7. I think I would like working in a campus with a view of those gorgeous rocks!

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  8. So interesting. I remember this spot so well from my years of trudging between middle and upper campus but I've never known it was called a belvedere. Fabulous views from up there.

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