Bloemfontein was popularly and poetically known as "the city of roses", owing to the abundance of these flowers and the annual rose festival held there. The city's Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning "place of cheetahs". Bloemfontein has since 2011 formed part of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, having previously been part of the Mangaung Local Municipality.
Bloemfontein is situated at an altitude of 1,395 m (4,577 ft) above sea level. The city is home to 369,568 residents, while the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality has a population of 645,455.
Though historically a predominantly Afrikaner settlement, Bloemfontein was officially founded in 1846 as a fort by British army major Henry Douglas Warden as a British outpost in the Transoranje region, at that stage occupied by various groups of peoples including Cape Colony Trek Boers, Griqua and Basotho. Although modern day Bloemfontein has a reputation for its flowers in an otherwise arid region, the origin of the city's name is unclear. Popular legends include an ox named "Bloem" owned by one of the pioneer farmers that was taken by a lion near a fountain on his property, while another story names Jan Bloem (1775–1858), a Korana KhoiKhoi leader who inhabited the area. Bloemfontein literally means fountain of flowers or flower spring in Dutch. With colonial policy shifts, the region changed into the Orange River Sovereignty (1848–54) and eventually the Orange Free State Republic (1854–1902). From 1902–10 it served as the capital of the Orange River Colony and since that time as the provincial capital of the Free State. In 1910 it became the Judicial capital of the Union of South Africa.
Warden originally chose the site largely because of its proximity to the main route to Winburg, the spacious open country, and the absence of horse sickness. Bloemfontein was the original farm of Johannes Nicolaas Brits born 21 February 1790, owner and first inhabitant of Bloemfontein. Johann – as he was known – sold the farm to Maj Warden.
As the capital of the Orange Free State Republic the growth and maturing of the Republic resulted in the growth of the town. Numerous public buildings that remain in use today were constructed. This was largely facilitated by the excellent governance of the Republic (which acquired the term model republic) and the compensation from the British for the loss of the diamond rich Griqualand area.. The old Orange Free State's presidential residence the Old Presidency is currently a museum and cultural space in the city.
A railway line was built in 1890 connecting Bloemfontein to Cape Town
The writer J. R. R. Tolkien was born in the city on 3 January 1892, though his family left South Africa following the death of his father, Arthur Tolkien, while Tolkien was only three. He recorded that his earliest memories were of "a hot country."
In 1899 the city was the site of the Bloemfontein Conference, which failed to prevent the outbreak of the Second Boer War. The conference was a final attempt to avert a war between Britain and the South African Republic. With its failure the stage was set for war, which broke out on 11 October 1899.
The rail line from Cape Town provided a centrally located railway station, and proved critical to the British in occupying the city later.
On 13 March 1900, following the Battle of Paardeberg, British forces captured the city and built a concentration camp nearby to house Boer women and children. The National Women's Monument, on the outskirts of the city, pays homage to the 26,370 women and children as well as 1,421 old men (also 14,154 black people, though some sources feel that the records are unsatisfactory, and that this number could be as high as 20,000) who died in these camps in various parts of the country.
The hill in town was named Naval Hill after the naval guns brought in by the British in order to fortify the position against attack.
Until 1994 the city was the sole judicial capital of South Africa. It remains the seat for the Supreme Court Of Appeal (formerly the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court) and is therefore generally regarded as the judicial capital. It is also an administrative center with many private hospitals and educational institutions.
Free State Provincial Government building Bloemfontein forms part of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, which was upgraded from a Local Municipality in 2011.
Bloemfontein is located in central South Africa on the southern edge of the Highveld at an elevation of 1,400 metres (4,600 ft), bordering on the semi-arid region of the Karoo. The area is generally flat with occasional hills (koppies in Afrikaans) and the general vegetation is Highveld grassland. Bloemfontein experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSk ), with hot summer days [Jan: max:32 °C (90 °F) min:19 °C (66 °F); frequent afternoon thunderstorms] and cooler, dry winters, often with frosts [July: max:14 °C (57 °F) min:−3 °C (27 °F)]. Snow is uncommon but as recently as August 2006 it snowed in the city, with snowfalls occurring again at the airport on 26 July 2007.
Bloemfontein suburbs include Heidedal to the east and southeast, Bain's Vlei, Woodland Hills Wildlife Estate, Brandwag, Ehrlich Park, Fauna, Fichardt Park, Fleurdal, Gardenia Park, Generaal De Wet, Hospitaalpark, Kiepersol, Lourier Park, Park West, Pellissier, Uitsig, Universitas, Westdene, Wilgehof and Willows to the south of the city. To the west of Bloemfontein, you will find Langenhoven Park. To the north you will find Arboretum, Baysvalley, Bayswater, Dan Pienaar, Helicon Heights, Heuwelsig, Hillsboro, Hillside, Hilton, Naval Hill, Navalsig, Noordhoek, Pentagon Park, Panorama Park, and Waverley. To the north east you will find Roodewal and Vallombrosa. The predominantly black suburbs are; Rocklands, Phahameng, Phelindaba, Bloemanda, Bochabela and the most historic Batho where the Maphikela House (where the African National Congress started) is situated.
The Free State Stadium and the surrounding sports complex is the main sports venue in the city and province. The venue was the hosting stadium of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa matches played in Bloemfontein. There are several other sports venues in the city, however, including facilities belonging to the university, schools and sports clubs.other stadium's in the city is mangaung oval, Dr. Petrus Molemela stadium and Clive Solomon's stadium
Bloemfontein is joint home (together with nearby Botshabelo) to Premier Soccer League team Bloemfontein Celtic. Some of the matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup were played at the Free State Stadium, including the historic 4–1 defeat of England by Germany in the round of 16.
Bloemfontein's Free State Stadium is home to two rugby union teams; the Cheetahs who compete in Super Rugby and the Free State Cheetahs who play in the domestic Currie Cup. The Free State Cheetahs won the Currie Cup in 2005 against the Blue Bulls, they drew the final with the Blue Bulls in 2006 and retained the Currie Cup title in 2007 by beating the Golden Lions resulting in the Cheetahs remaining Currie Cup champions until 2008 when the failed to make the final for the first time since 2004. 2009 saw the Cheetahs return to the Currie Cup final but they were unable to beat the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld. In 2016 the Cheetahs won the Currie Cup after a perfect season, beating the Blue Bulls at home in Bloemfontein.
The Knights cricket team representing the Free State and Northern Cape in various series is located at Mangaung Oval, part of the Free State Stadium complex. Bloemfontein features as a regular venue for touring international and local cricket teams.
One of the most active soaring communities in South Africa and the world is using the New Tempe Airport north of Bloemfontein.
Bloemfontein has a motocross track (tempe) run by the Bloemfontein Off Road Club, as well as a go-kart circuit (M&F Raceway), which was closed down in early 2015.
Bloemfontein has a comprehensive shooting centre 20 km (12 mi) south of the city, offering most forms of shooting including various clay target, pistol and rifle disciplines. Bloemfontein's shooting sport community has produced many provincial and national representatives over the years.
Bloemfontein has two rock climbing clubs each with a wall and boulder cave.
Every year Bloemfontein, the 'City of Roses' celebrates the 'Bloemfontein Rose Festival', also known as the 'Mangaung Rose Festival', in October. The event takes place in October because the roses in the Free State bloom best during this cooler month. The majority of the events happen at the Loch Logan Waterfront in Bloemfontein. The festival attracts visitors and rose enthusiasts from all over South Africa and the world to participate and experience this grand showcase of roses and other local events and attractions, which take place throughout the city. The festival has made Bloemfontein a popular destination for visitors from around the world as thousands of people attend the festival annually.
The first rose festival first took place in 1976, when council members decided that hosting such a festival was appropriate given the area's name. In 1976 the events spanned over a few days and included activities related to roses in the Sanlam Plaza. Since then, the rose festival has expanded and grown to meet the growing needs and interests of the public.
Horticulturalists are invited to take part in competitions which focus on designing and improving unkempt gardens around the city. Festival activities take place in private gardens all over Bloemfontein as local residents of the city open their gardens to the general public for viewing.
The bulk of the festival happens at the Loch Logan Waterfront, which is the largest shopping centre in central South Africa. It spans about 80 000 m² of space and is the hub of shopping, entertainment, sport and culture in Bloemfontein. The waterfront displays flowers created by local nursaries as well as the official municipal display created by the parks department, which is organised by the Mangaung Municipality. The Free State Rose Society’s champion Rose Cut Competition, with approximately 700 entrants every year, is also hosted at the Waterfront, along with the Miss Volksblad Rosebud competition for girls aged 3–4 years old, organised in conjunction with the Volksblad daily newspaper.
The Rose Morning High Tea usually occurs at the Urth Garden Centre where tea and treats are served. The Urth Garden Centre is a retail and wholesale nursery that is located on Kenneth Kaunda Road in Bloemfontein. The crowning of the King and of Mangaung in the year of nomination.
The Mangaung Rose Classic Cycle Tour is a road race that happens during the festival every year. The event is organised by AfriCycle Tours and the dates are announced annually.The race starts at the Urth and the race distances include 22 km, 56 km and 106 km.
This expo forms part of the Mangaung/Bloemfontein Rose Festival and gives 'green' and organic local businesses an opportunity to display their businesses. This includes showcasing different products and services that support a green environment, such as solar power, grey water systems, vegetable tunnels, JoJo tank systems, etc.
Bloemfontein offers many institutions of learning, from pre-schools to Universities and colleges. Classes are taught in different schools in different languages, some schools even teaching all classes in two languages. These languages are mostly Afrikaans, English or Sesotho.Loch Logan Waterfront Mall.
Twin City Mall
Central Park Mall and bus terminal
Southern Life Plaza
Dan Pienaar Mall
Pretty Gardens Lifestyle Centre
College Square Centre
Victorian Square Centre
Windmill Casino and Entertainment World
Southern Sun Casino
Andre Huguenot theatre
Sand du Plessis Theatre
Queen of Roses also happens during this event. The competition recognizes citizens of the City of Bloemfontein for contributions that go beyond their normal duties to enrich the Mangaung Metro. Nominees need to be citizens =Bloemfontein
The largest tertiary institutions in Bloemfontein are the University of the Free State and the Central University of Technology.
There is a Further Education and Training College called Motheo FET College which comprises three main campuses(Thaba N'chu, Hillside view and Bloemfontein) and the satellite campuses in Zastron, Philippolis and Botshabelo.
Some major national private educational brands maintain a presence in Bloemfontein, namely:Boston City Campus focuses on video based, self study. There are a variety of academic divisions.
CTI/MGI forming part of the international group Pearson, offering degrees in IT, Commerce, Creative Arts and Communication, Law and Social Sciences, Psychology and Counselling
CTU Training Solutions focuses on IT and multi-media.
Damelin focuses on budget education offered for full-time, part-time and via correspondence. There are a variety of academic divisions.
Qualitas Career Academy, caters for full-time and part-time studies for students as well as corporate training and consulting services for businesses and government departments. There are a variety of academic divisions.
ATTI (Advanced Technology Training Institute) offers short short courses and skills programs with a strong focus on IT subjects and also provides training for corporate clients in various IT programs.
Buildings in the CBD also host smaller upstart colleges, which come and go. Such colleges catch the overflow from public institutions and late enrolments, or learners whose high school achievement may fall short of various entry requirements. This list may vary from year to year:ATTI
Bloemfontein's national and regional roads are as follows: The N1, a major highway running roughly SE to NW from Cape Town to Johannesburg and Zimbabwe largely bypasses this city to the west. The N8 runs east/west connecting Bloemfontein to Kimberley and Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. Bloemfontein is also the northern end of the N6 road heading roughly southwards to the port of East London. At a T-junction just before the city, the N6 becomes the M30, and the intersecting road is designated the N6. This road ends in an interchange with the N1.
There are also two two-digit R routes: the R64, which is the old road to Kimberley, via Dealesville and Boshof. It ends at the N1. The R30 ends at the N1 north of the town. It is the road to Welkom.
Three other three-digit R routes have their origin in Bloemfontein. The R706 takes origin from the N8 in the city centre, and heads south-east towards Jagersfontein and Fauresmith. The R702 also originates from the N8 in the city centre, but heads south-west towards the towns of Dewetsdorp and Wepener. The third road, the R700, starts south of the city centre from the M30 and heads north crossing the N8 and N1 towards Bultfontein
Below that level, Bloemfontein has a number of metropolitan or M roads. These roads are numbered independently of m roads in other South African cities.
Bloemfontein is well connected with rail.It is located on the most important rail junction between Johannesburg and Cape Town, with daily trains to Port Elizabeth, East London and Johannesburg.
Bloemfontein has two airports New Tempe Aerodrome and Bram Fischer International Airport. New Tempe Aerodrome has no scheduled flights, it is used as a training facility for aviators and schools. Bram Fischer International Airport has scheduled flights to all South Africa's major cities.
Last year in October the Mangaung Metropolitan and various taxi associations reached an agreement on the Integrated Public Transport system which is currently under construction. The project consist of two phases, the first phase will see the construction of bus ways along the Metropolitan. The second will be the building of depot and stations.
Many famous people are associated with Bloemfontein; these include:François Steyn, rugby player
Juan Smith, rugby player
Os du Randt, rugby player
Chris Dry, South Africa national rugby sevens team player
Naka Drotske, rugby player
Brendan Venter, rugby player
Heinrich Fuls, rugby player
Andre Joubert, rugby player
Andre Venter, rugby player
Ruben Kruger, rugby player
Ollie Le Roux, rugby player
Coenie Oosthuizen, rugby player
Jannie de Beer, rugby player
Allan Donald, South African cricketer
Hansie Cronje, controversial South African cricket captain
Morne van Wyk, played for South Africa Proteas Cricket team
Kepler Wessels, test cricketer with Australia and South Africa
Willem Jackson, played for South Africa Bafana Bafana soccer team
Vuyo Mere, platinum stars
Thabo Nthethe, Mamelodi Sundowns
Kgotso Moleko, Kaizer Chiefs F.C
Leon Schuster, filmmaker, comedian and musician, born and schooled in Bloemfontein
Shaun Morgan and Dale Stewart, musicians and founding members of the band Seether
Coenie de Villiers, Afrikaans musician and songwriter
Brendan Peyper, Afrikaans musician and songwriter
Leon Schuster, filmmaker, comedian and musician, born and schooled in Bloemfontein
Tony Kgoroge, South African actor, performances in movies including Hotel Rwanda, Blood Diamond, Invictus, Lord of War and Skin.
J. R. R. Tolkien CBE was born in Bloemfontein on 3 January 1892. Tolkien is famous for his fantasy epics The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. When aged 3, Tolkien left South Africa for England.
Ryk Neethling, Olympic gold medalist swimmer
Zola Budd, international long distance athlete, born in the city and attended Sentraal High School
Gerrit Badenhorst, a powerlifter and strongman competitor.
Frans Claerhout, artist.
Gert Coetzer, rugby league footballer of the 1960s
Beric John Croome, Advocate of the High Court of South Africa
Winkie Direko, first African chancellor of the University of the Free State
Dr John Vernon Harrison FRSE geologist, was born here
Bloemfontein has a large and diverse Christian population. The city houses several churches and denominations:It is the seat of the Anglican Diocese of the Free State
Afrikaans Baptist Church (Afrikaans: Afrikaanse Baptiste Kerk)
Dutch Reformed Church (Afrikaans: Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk)
Sacred Heart Cathedral in Bloemfontein is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bloemfontein
Seventh-day Adventist Church, Southern African headquarters.
Christian Revival Church, is the largest church in Bloemfontein with over 30,000 members. CRC's net is widely cast and is established in Bloemfontein, Pretoria and Johannesburg along with 90 national and international CRC Churches worldwide, executing the mission of "One Church, Many Locations" throughout South Africa, Europe, America & Australia. The church is led by Pastor At Boshoff, together with his wife Nyretta.
New Covenant Ministries International had a church called Fountainhead led by Chris Gerber. It was a New Testament Church known by the name Fountainhead Church International. Later this church merged with Doxa Deo Bloemfontein, which is now the name of the combined church.
The city also has a large Jewish population, which was established during the mid-19th century.
There are two main cemeteries in Bloemfontein:The Old Cemetery: Over 1,000 names from the three cemeteries. Old: The oldest of the three cemeteries, dating from 1871, is simply a small fenced off area of a public cemetery near the city center. It includes a few graves of several Jewish pioneers involved in the early days of the city who died serving on either side in the Boer War, 1899–1902. Each of the thirty or so tombstones of these pioneer families has been completely transcribed.
South Park: This cemetery was consecrated in 1978 and now includes more than 10 000 graves and is the biggest cemetery in the Free State.
On 7 October 2010, Several tombstones in the Jewish cemetery in Bloemfontein were defaced with swastikas and antisemitic graffiti. On 10 April 2012, Bloemfontein's historic Memorium cemetery was vandalized, with 35 tombstones toppled and obscene graffiti daubed on the walls of the adjoining Ohel. The graffiti included images of money bags and diamonds, as well as of a crudely drawn Magen David, allegedly as part of an anti-Semitic act. There is also the old Phahameng cemetery which dates back to the 1960s and was specifically reserved for Africans during the apartheid era and has a Heroes Acre, where freedom fighters are laid to rest. The Heide Heights cemetery in Heidedal was reserved for coloured people during the apartheid era but all races could bury their dead after 1994. This cemetery has been closed due to it being full.Round Table 158 Bloemfontein The first Round Table was formed in Norwich, England in 1927. The founder, Louis Marchesi, was a young member of Norwich Rotary Club who felt a need existed for a club where the young business men of the town could gather on a regular basis. At their meetings they could exchange ideas, learn from the experiences of their colleagues and play a collective part in the civic life of Norwich. From a very early stage it was agreed that Round Table would be a non-religious, non-political club and this has continued to this day.
Child Welfare Bloemfontein Child Welfare Bloemfontein & Childline Free State is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 1914 by a group of volunteers who identified a need for welfare services among the community. In 2004, Child Welfare Bloemfontein celebrated its 90th birthday. Over the past 90 years, many community programmes have been successfully implemented.
FreeMasons The Masonic Centre, Bloemfontein, was built during the 1970s when all the Masonic Lodges in Bloemfontein, sold their individual properties. The Centre was erected to facilitate all Masonic activities in Bloemfontein and surrounding areas. All four Constitutions that is active in South Africa, gather at the Centre. The Lodges that has ownership of the Centre is Lodge Unie (est. 1864); the Rising Star Lodge (est. 1865); Thistle Lodge (est.1903); Emerald Lodge (est. 1905); Lodge Dagbreek (est. 1932) & Lodge Oranje (est. 1964). Various side degrees are catered for at the Centre which includes the Mark, Ark, the Royal Arch & Rose Croix. Bloemfontein has a rich Masonic history especially in the Anglo Boer War (1899–1902), with members such as Lord Kitchener, Rudyard Kipling and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, visiting Lodges in Bloemfontein.