Visit Pretoria

Accommodation and travel guide to Pretoria

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Home Ou Raadsaal

Ou Raadsaal

On the south western corner of Church Square, stands the Old Council Chamber, more commonly known as the “ou Raadsaal”.

The building was first used in May of 1890 and has since housed all levels of government, and, for a brief time, was also the governmental seat of the British. It currently houses the offices of the Municipal management team.

The building was designed in a classical style by Sytze Wopke Wierda. It was originally meant to be only two storeys high, but an extra floor was added according to Paul Kruger’s wishes, to ensure that the Raadsaal would not be shorter than the adjacent hotel.

The building has undergone two restorations. In 1962, a minor restoration returned to its original place, the stone coat of arms that stood above the entrance. In 1992 a full-scale restoration was undertaken. The council chamber was returned to its original glory, with its Walnut chairs, upholstered in green Moroccan leather.

The public gallery overlooks the main hall from the North. To the East of the council chamber stand three balconies, two were press galleries and the middle, known as “tant Gesie se balkon”, used to accommodate Paul Kruger’s wife, Gezina, who would listen in on their deliberations.

The many hallways and staircases that form a maze through the building are all richly decorated, from the balustrades to the doorknockers. There are even the original hooks for tethering horses outside the entrance.