Mayor: Mr. Dan Plato
Population: 3,740,026 residents.
Brief Historical Overview of the City
Cape Town first got its name in the year 1488, when Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias called it the “Cape of Good Hope.” Cape Town became a municipality in 1840. In the middle of the 19th century, railway tracks were laid, diamond and gold mines were opened, the harbor infrastructure was improved, and the city’s economy grew and prospered. At the beginning of the 20th century, international companies started to open manufacturing plants in Cape Town, which until then had relied on importing most of the items manufactured for daily use. In the 1930s, the first series of laws were passed revoking the rights of black residents of Cape Town.
The year 1948 marked the beginning of the apartheid era in the city, when the victory of the National Party introduced the policy of racial segregation in the city – separating residential areas in the city, passing laws prohibiting intermarriage, providing separate services for blacks in postal and government offices, and more. One of the darkest periods in the history of the city started in the 1960s with the destruction of District Six, which had for years been the city’s cultural center for blacks, and its residents were forcibly relocated to nearby neighborhoods. From the mid-1990s, plans commenced to eliminate racial discrimination laws. In 1996, the first democratic elections were held to establish a local government, and the City of Cape Town and its environs were divided into six local authorities. In 1999, a national unity committee was created as a temporary political body to supervise and ensure the smooth transition from the seven municipal districts into a unified municipal structure.
General Information and Unique Characteristics
Cape Town is the oldest town in South Africa, overlooked by Table Mountain, which towers to a height of one kilometer and is famous for its flat-topped summit. The city center spreads to the north of the Table Mountain, and together with the suburbs around it, it is called "City Bowl" (since the mountain slopes create a type of bowl). Most of the city’s attractions are located in this area, including the Castle of Good Hope, one of the oldest buildings, which was built in the 17th century by the Europeans living in Southern Africa, and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, one of the city’s most popular recreational and commercial districts. South Africa’s first synagogue is located in Cape Town, and it is one of the city’s most prominent buildings. The Table Mountain summit accessed by the Table Mountain Cableway is also a popular attraction. The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is found on the Mountain’s slopes and is dedicated almost exclusively to South Africa’s vegetation.
The city has many museums, including the South Africa Museum, in which displays devoted to African cultures are exhibited, and the District Six Museum, dedicated to the thriving community that lived in the district. Other cultural institutes in Cape Town include the National Gallery of South Africa, the Planetarium, the South African Library, which includes Shakespeare's First and Second Folio, and the School of Arts, Theater, Opera and Ballet. In addition there are many night-life spots in the city – restaurants, bars and music clubs.
The Haifa-Cape Town Twin City Agreement was signed in
Haifa City Council meeting held on June 16, 1975