The Main Street of Paarl is one of the best preserved historic streets in the country with many original buildings, representing the most popular architectural styles of the last 250 years, still intact and beautifully preserved. The interesting juxtaposition of the different styles that developed as the town expanded, interspersed with some of the original farms, lends an air of comfortable established country living to an otherwise vibrant commercial town.
This walk, shaded by giant old oak trees, provides a glimpse into the heart of the earliest part of town, but there are also many other areas so well preserved 19th Century town in South Africa.
Paarl is the third oldest permanent settlement in South Africa established as a farming community in 1687 when 23 farmers were given land along the Berg River. The Valley was named after a Dutch East India Company commissioner, Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein, who visited the Cape in 1685. The mountains towering over the East and Groot Drakenstein in the South also bear his name – Klein Drakenstein in the East and Groot Drakenstein in the South. Much earlier, 1657, Abraham Gabbema on an expedition to the valley, named two prominent boulders on Paarl Mountain “den Diamant ende Peerlbergh” – the Diamond and the Pearl – from which the town later took its name.
The walk starts at no112 Main Street, a small church on the left-hand side, Het Gesticht Church. This walking trail takes you along one of the best preserved 19th century streets in South Africa with a rich legacy of beautiful old buildings.
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