The colourful history of Long Street
Long Street (Image from Pinterest)
One of the oldest streets in the city, Long Street lies in the heart of Cape Town’s city bowl and is most certainly on every tourist’s must see list. Stretching along more than 20 blocks of Cape Town's CBD, it lives up to its name and can take lazy strollers a full day to explore.
Proudly lined with unique old architecture, dating back to the early 1800s - this historic street is filled with second-hand book stores, antique stores, ethnic restaurants, trendy shops, backpackers, clubs and pulsing bars.
The variety of colourful Victorian-era buildings is a delight to behold. You’ll find Victorian verandas with broekie lace, alongside Muslim Mosques - mingling in a surprisingly appealing clash of cultures. The buildings are still in relatively good condition, thanks to a number of preservation societies, heritage groups and architects who are constantly protecting these structures from the wrecking ball. In fact, many of the buildings have been restored over the years.
Our four favourite historic gems on Long Street:
The Victorian-styled Carnival Court used to be where the young up-and-coming business men would keep their apartments. From the detailed wrought-iron balcony, you can watch the world go by up and down Long Street.
1977 (Image from Pinterest)
The Noor el Hameida Mosque at the Dorp Street intersection dates back to 1884 and is one of two mosques in Long Street. The other is the Pink Tree Mosque, one block away on the left hand side of the road.
The Pink Tree Mosque is the second oldest mosque in South Africa. It was erected in a building dating back to 1777, but is in fact a "landar", a place used for worship - not a real mosque. The mosque was so named because of the two palm trees that used to grow on the pavement outside.
Today (Image from Travelstart)
Right at the top end of Long Street are the Long Street Baths. The baths have always been a popular hangout and were quite recently beautifully upgraded. However, they have in the past been known to be frequented by the likes of "sailors' ladies". Inside is a heated swimming pool, changing rooms and Turkish baths with steam and dry-heat rooms. The pool is very well attended at lunchtime by keep-fit enthusiasts and businesspeople. The complex dates back to 1908, although the Turkish bath section was later opened in 1929.
Long Street’s rich history of more than three centuries, its beautiful architecture and diverse offering to both night owls and daytime visitors – gives it an appeal and attraction like few other places in Cape Town. Frequented by both business man and tourist, hippy and yuppie – Long Street speaks many languages and tells many stories. So, be sure to book your stay with us during your next visit to the Mother City – and you'll be right in the heart of it all!