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September 18, 2012

University of Cape Town: One of the most beautiful places to study

Accolades for Cape Town just keep rolling in. Last week, the University of Cape Town (UCT) was named one of the most beautiful universities in the world, by British newspaper The Telegraph.

University of Cape Town (UCT) was named one of the most beautiful universities in the world, by British newspaper The Telegraph. Photo courtesy Stewart Harris

The newspaper said that it is UCT's mountain setting that helped it clinch the third spot on the list. Top spot was taken by Oxford University followed by Harvard University. UCT is the only African university on the list. 

It's not difficult to see why UCT featured on the list. There are six campuses, of which the middle/lower, upper, medical Groote Schuur and medical school campuses are situated in Southern Suburbs area of Cape Town, close to Groote Schuur hospital and Devil's Peak, with Hiddingh Campus situated in Cape Town's city centre, and Breakwater campus adjacent to the V&A Waterfront

UCT is South Africa’s oldest university and was founded as a high school for boys in 1829. It grew into a fully-fledged university from 1880 to 1900, through funding from government and private sources. One of the key developments during this period was the admission of women. 

Established in 1829, the bulk of the facilities were moved to the Groote Schuur Estate during early 1900s. Photo courtesy Danie van der Merwe

In 1928, the bulk of the university’s facilities was moved to the site on the slopes of Devil’s Peak. The land was bequeathed to the nation, by mining magnet Cecil John Rhodes.

UCT earned itself the nickname “Moscow on the Hill” for its continued opposition to apartheid. In the 1920s the first small group of black students was admitted and today the campus is one of the most diverse campuses in South Africa, with staff and students hailing from more than 100 countries in Africa and the rest of the world.

The university, which claims amongst its alumni world-renowned heart surgeon, the late Professor Christiaan Barnard and well-known author JM Coetzee, is recognised as one of the oldest universities in the world.

Last week it was also ranked as the best university in Africa in the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings for 2012-13.

Students and alumni took to Twitter to express their pride at the accolade: ‪@Connie_Kalule tweeted: "University of Cape Town (UCT) ranked the 3rd most beautiful university in the world behind Oxford & Harvard ‪#Proud ‪#UCTAlumni" and ‪@Captain_Ddz tweeted, "It's the mountain".

Patricia Lucas UCT’s acting communications and media manager said: “Its striking beauty, its location at the foot of Table Mountain's Devil's Peak, its panoramic views and vibrant and diverse cultures are all part of what makes UCT special.

“The campus is home to a number of historical artworks. The university’s heritage trail allows the UCT community to explore its own heritage in relation to broader issues of heritage in the country. We welcome visitors who would like to walk through the campus and tour the heritage trail.”

The home of one of South Africa's leading artists, Irma Stern (1894-1966), is situated near UCT's Lower Campus in Rosebank, Cape Town. It was transformed into the Irma Stern Museum in 1971 and houses a comprehensive collection of the artist's work, as well as her private collection of antique furniture and African art, Lucas added.

The video below provides an overview about studying at the University of Cape Town.

Discover what the University of Cape Town offers students.

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