| South Africa|
Somerset West (Afrikaans: ) is a town in the Western Cape, South Africa. Organisationally and administratively it is included in the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. It is situated in the Helderberg area (formerly called Hottentots Holland), about 50 kilometres (30 mi) east of Cape Town central city area, and 10 kilometres (6 mi) from Strand. The town is overlooked by the Helderberg (meaning "clear mountain"), a part of the Hottentots-Holland range of mountains. The vehicle registration code for Somerset West is CFM and the post code is 7130 for street addresses, and 7129 for post office boxes.
The land was initially bought* from local people and a cattle post was established here by Dutch soldiers in 1672.(*reference?)
A town developed around the Lourens River (originally "Tweederivier", which means "Second River"; "Eersterivier", meaning "First River" passes through Stellenbosch, some 16 km to the north) and the farm of Vergelegen (Dutch: "remotely situated"), an 18th-century farmhouse built in the historic Cape Dutch style by Willem Adriaan van der Stel, governor of the Cape and son of Simon van der Stel, who gave his name to the nearby town of Stellenbosch. Willem Adriaan was later sent back to Holland after being charged with corruption and cruelty towards local Dutch farmers. The farm is now owned by a subsidiary of the large mining company Anglo American, who have restored the farmhouse to its original magnificence and continue to produce some of South Africas best wines there. The farm is open to tourists.
Somerset West was founded in 1822 on part of the historic farm, Vergelegen. The town was named Somerset after an English governor of the Cape Colony during the 1800s, Lord Charles Henry Somerset, with the suffix West being added after 1825 to differentiate it from Somerset East, another South African town in the Eastern Cape. In the 1830s, Sir Lowrys Pass, named after later governor Sir Lowry Cole, was constructed to link the town with outposts further east over the Hottentots-Holland mountains.
In the 1960s, the AECI factory between Somerset West and Strand was the second largest dynamite factory in the world.
Somerset West lies in the Helderberg Basin, surrounded by an amphitheatre of mountains, between the Cape Winelands and False Bay. Every December, the town has a fairly decorative display of Christmas lights erected atop the street lights of the Main Road. The Helderberg Lights Festival (aka the Strawberry Festival), a flea market and parade, normally complements these lights.
The area also has its own community radio station, Radio Helderberg, broadcasting community notices and playing adult orientated pop music.
The Helderberg Nature Reserve, a 363 hectare natural wildlife preserve opened in 1964, contains a wide variety of smaller fauna (buck, tortoises and other reptiles) and outstanding specimens of indigenous flora such as protea and fynbos.
The Vergelegen Wine Estate lies just outside the town itself. The buildings on the estate constitute fine examples of Cape Dutch architecture.
The Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum is located in Lwandle Township and is dedicated to the history of Black migrant workers in the area during the apartheid era. It is one of only a few museums in South Africa that covers this aspect of the countrys history.
Somerset West contains a number of sporting facilities including several golf courses.
The historic town of Stellenbosch is reachable via the R44 motorway (approx 18 km/11 mi away). The area between Somerset West and Stellenbosch also encompasses many vineyards and wineries (e.g. Rust-en-Vrede, Lourensford, Alto, J.P. Bredell) where visitors can sample and purchase wine. The oldest remaining vineyard in South Africa, Vergelegen, is situated on the outskirts of Somerset West.
In recent years many guest houses and B&Bs have opened up in Somerset West, since it is conveniently located for Cape Town (40 kilometres (25 mi) away on the N2 motorway), the beaches at the Strand and Gordons Bay, as well as the Western Capes numerous wine farms.
Middle Eastern cuisine is the cuisine of the various countries and peoples of the Middle East. The cuisine of the region is diverse while having a degree of homogeneity. Some commonly used ingredients include olives and olive oil, pitas, honey, sesame seeds, dates, sumac, chickpeas, mint and parsley. Some popular dishes include kibbeh and shawarma.
The Middle East includes the region formerly known as the Fertile Crescent (the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers), where wheat was first cultivated, followed by barley, pistachios, figs, pomegranates, dates and other regional staples. Fermentation was also discovered here to leaven bread and make beer. As a crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa, this area has long been a hub of food and recipe exchange. During the Persian Empire (ca. 550–330 BCE), the foundation was laid for modern Middle-Eastern food when rice, poultry and various fruits were incorporated into the local diets. Figs, dates and nuts were brought by Arabian warriors to conquered lands, and spices were brought back from the Orient.
The area was also influenced by dumplings from Mongol invaders; turmeric, cumin, garlic and other spices from India; cloves, peppercorns and allspice from the Spice Islands; okra from Africa; and tomatoes from the New World, via the Moors of Spain. Religion has also had an impact on the cuisine; neither Jews nor Muslims eat pork, making lamb the primary meat. Since the Quran forbids alcohol consumption, the region isnt noted much for its wine—except in religiously mixed Lebanon, where vineyards like Chateau Ksara, Chateau Kefraya and Chateau Masaya have gained international fame for their wines. Chateau Ksara is also very popular for its arak, the Lebanese version of raki and ouzo. Al-Maza is Lebanons primary brewery, which was also, at one time, the Middle Easts only beer-producing factory. Lebanon has always been well known in the region for its wines and arak, making it an exception when it comes to lack of alcohol in the region.