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The Union Buildings viewed from the Gardens
Location within Pretoria
|Architectural style||Neoclassicism of Italian Renaissance, with Cape Dutch and Edwardian style detail.|
|Town or city||Meintjieskop, Arcadia, Pretoria|
|Construction started||1 November 1910|
|Client||Union of South Africa|
|Size||285m (length) 100m (width) 60m (height)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Sir Herbert Baker|
The Union Buildings form the official seat of the South African government and also house the offices of the president of South Africa. The imposing buildings are located in Pretoria, atop Meintjieskop at the northern end of Arcadia, close to historic Church Square and the Voortrekker Monument. The large gardens of the Buildings are nestled between Government Avenue, Vermeulen Street East, Church Street, the R104 and Blackwood Street. Fairview Avenue is a closed road where only officials can enter to the Union Buildings. Though not in the center of Pretoria the Union Buildings occupy the highest point of Pretoria, and constitute a South African national heritage site.
The Buildings are one of the centres of political life in South Africa; "The Buildings" and "Arcadia" have become metonyms for the South African government. It has become an iconic landmark of Pretoria and South Africa in general, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and an emblem of democracy.
The Buildings are the location of presidential inaugurations.
These buildings, built from light sandstone, were designed by the architect Sir Herbert Baker in the English monumental style and are 285 m long. They have a semi-circular shape, with the two wings at the sides, this serves to represent the union of a formerly divided people. The clock chimes are identical to those of Big Ben in London. The east and west wings, as well as the twin-domed towers, represent two languages, English and Afrikaans, and the inner court symbolises the Union of South Africa. These buildings are considered by many to be the architect's greatest achievement and a South African architectural masterpiece. The Nelson Mandela statue in Sandton City's Nelson Mandela Square was commissioned originally to stand on the spot where Nelson Mandela gave his inaugural address.
Don't forget! that your welfare and that of all your friends and colleagues here is of primary concern and a distance of six feet (1.8m) minimum is required at all times.