South African Jewish Museum
It took four years, from planning to construction, before the South African Jewish Museum was officially opened by Nelson Mandela in December 2000. Situated along “Museum Mile” in central Cape Town, the museum welcomes visitors with its bold architectural design, interactive multimedia displays and detailed accounts of South African Jewish history.
One section of the museum borders the National Gallery and Company Gardens, an environment steeped in history, culture and religion, where white-washed buildings, fountains, ponds, statues and ancient oak trees hark back to the early days of the Cape colony. The main section faces a paved, landscaped court that links the first synagogue built on South African soil (the Old Synagogue, built in 1863), the Great Synagogue (1905) and the Albow Centre.
The latter comprises the South African Jewish Museum Shop, Jacob Gitlin Library, Café Riteve and the Cape Town Holocaust Centre.
The museum is interactive and hi-tech, and uses different media to present highlights of South African Jewish history. On view are rare Judaica, video footage of early South African Jewish settlers Barney Barnato and Max Rose, and an award winning documentary about Nelson Mandela – A Righteous Man, that is screened all day.
The South African Jewish Museum serves an education, information and dialogue function that is complemented by its many exhibitions and cultural programmes.
The entrance to the museum is situated in the Old Synagogue. It is open from Sundays to Thursdays from 10h00-17h00 and on Fridays from 10h00-14h00. It is closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays, but remains open on public holidays. Admission costs R40 for adults, R25 for pensioners, Students under the age of 16 FREE. Groups are offered special rates by prior arrangement.
Martin Melck House is one of the oldest colonial homes in South Africa named after its first owner. Its history is intimately entwined with that of Cape Town itself.
PRINS & PRINS DIAMONDS MUSEUM OF GEMS AND JEWELLERY
This unique museum project takes visitors on a journey from when diamonds first began to form three billion years ago and their 150 km journey to the surface, following the unique path of South African diamonds from their origin in extinct volcanoes to the deposits along our coastline. Learn about unique and rare gemstones, and see how jewellery has changed through thousands of years. The story about South Africa’s mineral wealth is told, not only for diamonds, but also for our Platinum and Gold deposits.
This cultural village aims to remind us of our origin and serves as the reservoir for African knowledge pertaining to nature and traditions, giving us an opportunity to celebrate who we are through music (wonderful sounds from live bands) or from its’ distinct fineness of cuisine, topped up with African (local) arts and crafts.
Hot summer sun, extra long days and warm nights, sun-kissed skin and time to spend with loved ones; summer in Cape Town is the ideal time to get outdoors and enjoy getting closer to the spectacular nature that is within minutes from the bustling city.
Diamonds were formed three billion years ago by molecular-changing heat of around 1 300 °C, deep within the Earth’s crust. If you didn’t know that, then you have not been to the Cape Town Diamond Museum.
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