Whilst riding on the Cape Town Red City Tour, you’ll come to a stop at St George's Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in Southern Africa. It is the mother church of the Anglican diocese of Cape Town built by Sir Herbert Baker out of sandstone from Table Mountain.
› Let City Sightseeing take you on a visit to Cathedral Church of St George the Martyr in Cape Town
› Be mesmerized by the stained glass windows – work done by Gabriel Loire
› Visit the structure that outlived three wars, depressions and recessions
The St George’s Cathedral was the vision of Robert Gray, the first Bishop of Cape Town, who wanted to have a cathedral worthy of the Mother City.
The early English colonists at the Cape of Good Hope had no church building of their own; they had to rely on services conducted by military chaplains at the Groote Kerk and the Castle. On 21 December 1834 St George's Church opened for divine service. It had no rector, and chaplains conducted the services until Bishop Gray arrived in his newly-created diocese in 1848.
Since then building has progressed by stops and starts. Over a century later in 1939 the north aisle was finished; in 1963 the Lady Chapel and south aisle were completed, and in 1978 the belfry and the Link section, with additional seating, were built. The central panel of the great west window is dominated by the figure of the triumphant Christ. Unfortunately after three wars, depressions and recessions the completion of St George's Cathedral is still incomplete to this day.
› Find out why St George’s Cathedral is fondly known as the People’s Cathedral
› Relive the historical event when Archbishop Desmond Tutu led a mass demonstration against apartheid
› Learn where the phrase “rainbow people” originated from
St George’s Anglican Cathedral, a gorgeous example of Victorian era design with magnificent stained glass windows and a crypt is known as ‘the people’s cathedral’ because of its role in the resistance against apartheid.
St George’s kept its doors open to people of all races throughout the apartheid era, and it was Archbishop Desmond Tutu, after he led a mass demonstration of 30 000 people to Grand Parade in 1989, who coined the phrase ‘rainbow people’ to describe South Africa’s diverse population. And the Cathedral’s accessibility to all people of Cape Town doesn’t stop there. The Very Reverend Rowan Smith is one of the first priests in the country to be open about his sexual identity, and, far from being rejected by St George’s congregation for his gay orientation, he has been accepted by his church. Truly this is a reflection central to the Cathedral’s vision as being the “people’s cathedral”.
› Take a spiritual walk on St George's Cathedral’s very own labyrinth
› Visit the Slave Lodge and increase your awareness on human rights, equality, peace and justice
› Have tea in the oldest garden in South Africa, the Company Gardens
And if it is more heritage sightseeing visits that interests you then visit the South African Houses of Parliament, The South African National Gallery and The South African Museum, which are very easily located on our Cape Town maps and well worth a visit.
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