Arcadia is a suburb in Pretoria, Gauteng and is where the Union Buildings and the president’s residence are situated. It is also known for its historical buildings, embassies and hotels.
Pretoria is in the northern part of Gauteng and is one of the country’s three capital cities, serving as the administrative capital. Pretoria is contained within the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. It is popularly known as the Jacaranda City owing to the thousands of jacaranda trees planted in its streets, parks and gardens, providing a wealth of photo opportunities for the avid photographer.
The main artery of Arcadia is Park Street and is the location for landmarks such as the Pretoria Art Museum, which boasts an attractive mid-century Modernist building and spans the entirety of a city block.
There is also the Gerard Moerdyk Restaurant, which serves traditional colonial African fare in a 1920s house.
The Loftus Versfeld Stadium is also situated on Park Street and is where local and international rugby and football matches are played.
The main attraction in Arcadia, however, is undoubtedly the Union Buildings. Steeped in political history, the buildings were once a symbol of a dark era in South Africa. They were the headquarters of the leaders of the Boer republic, looming over the oppressed as a symbol of white supremacy.
Then, in 1994, with the inauguration of former President Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected president, they became something altogether different. These elegant buildings, built by Sir Herbert Baker in 1913, became the seat of the new South African government and a symbol of freedom.