Paarl is the third oldest town and European settlement in South Africa? The Paarl valley was colonized in 1687 when land was allocated to 23 families from neighboring Stellenbosch. Initially known as Drakenstein, a village was founded at the foot of Paarl Rock in 1690, and it was renamed Paarl.
Paarl Mountain’s 500-million-year-old domes are one of the world’s largest granite outcrops, comparable to the towering Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia. The mountain is formed by three rounded outcrops, Paarl Rock, Bretagne Rock and Gordon Rock. Rock climbers descend from far and wide to take up the challenge of climbing the iconic natural wonder that is Paarl Rock.
The only monument to a living language in the world is situated on the slopes of the Paarl Mountain. The Taalmonument, or Afrikaans Language Monument, was unveiled in October 1975. The main 57 meter column symbolizes the Afrikaans language while the other columns, domes and walls represent the European, African and Malay languages that contributed to Afrikaans. A trip to the Taalmonument provides visitors with a unique cultural experience and offers some of the best views over Paarl and the surrounding winelands.
The longest main road in South Africa leads into Paarl. A drive down the 12km road, with its fine examples of Cape Dutch, Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco architecture, is a veritable trip down memory lane.
This is one of only a few places in South Africa where a river runs through the town, in this case, the mighty Berg River. The annual Berg River Canoe Marathon draws competitors from around the world.
The Strooidak (Thatched Roof) Church is one of the oldest church buildings in South Africa still in use today. The church was built on the present site in 1717 and remained in use until a “new” church was built in1805, due to the weakening construction of the old building.
The Het Gesticht Church building, also known as the Slave Church, is the 4th oldest church building in South Africa still in use and was built in 1813 as a school, church and meeting house for slaves.
F.S Smit & Co is one of South Africa’s oldest cooperage’s. First established in 1880, the company has been part of the evolution of the wine barrel in South Africa.
Zandwijk Farm is the only 100% Kosher wine farm in South Africa. The first wine was produced in 1988. Some of the first Kosher wines made are on display in their Tasting Facility.
KWV is the largest wine cellar in the world under one roof. Established in 1918, the year Nelson Mandela was born, South African wine farmers founded KWV with the aim of stabilizing, supporting and structuring a struggling young industry.
Paarl is also home to craft breweries, olives and olive oil producers.
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