Paarl is the third oldest settlement in South Africa. First established as a farming community in 1687 when 20 farmers were given land along the Berg River. The Valley was named after a Dutch commissioner who visited the Cape in 1685 – Hendrik Adriaan van Reede tot Drakenstein, Lord of Mijdrecht. Also the mountains towering over the Drakenstein Valley bear his name –Klein Drakenstein in the East and Groot Drakenstein in the South.
Abraham Gabbema, on a DEIC expedition in 1657, named the 2 largest Boulders on Paarl Mountain “den Diamant ende Peerlbergh” – the Diamond and the Pearl – from which the town later took the name Paarl.
This WALKING TOUR takes you along one of the best preserved 19thC streets in South Africa with a rich legacy of beautiful old buildings.
***Content provided courtesy of Cathy Raymond, Drakenstein Heritage Foundation.
FAMOUS ARCHITECTS THAT WORKED IN PAARL
Wynand Louw: the first Afrikaans speaking architect in South Africa designed several of the most prominent buildings in Cape Town at the time. Heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement as well as the later Art Deco styles, Wynand Louw designed many important buildings in Cape Town during the 1st half of the 20thC.
Antonie de Wit: came to SA at the request of Pres Burgers of the Transvaal republic in the late 19thC. His Dutch renaissance style dominated many buildings around the turn of the century especially the Lennon’s Chemists. Trademark little Dutch gables and intricate plaster decorations – medallions, etc.
Herbert Baker: a British architect who restored the Groote Schuur Estate in Cape Town for Cecil John Rhodes. His work on old Cape Dutch houses re-kindled interest in the style and for the next 30 years the Cape Dutch Revival style remained popular.