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National Monuments in Windhoek
Many interesting buildings and monuments have been preserved to remind us of our history. Some are representative of the colonial era, while others celebrate Namibia’s Independence. The way in which these are juxtaposed throughout Windhoek indicates that Namibia is a progressive, peaceful nation. Monuments serve as a reminder of our past, but at the same time they enshrine all our hopes and aspirations for a positive future, free from oppression.
There are new monuments that serve this purpose today.
HEROES’ ACRE – National Road to Rehoboth
"The blood of all these sons and daughters of Namibia watered the tree of our liberty and will always be remembered by present and future generations of the Republic of Namibia." – Sam Nujoma
Heroes’ Acre is a modern, state-of-the-art national symbol that was inaugurated by His Excellency, Dr Sam Nujoma, Founding President of the Republic of Namibia, on 26 August 2002. Its construction was motivated by the need to foster a spirit of patriotism and nationalism, and to pass on the legacy to the future generations of Namibia. Heroes’ Acre took 13 months to construct and covers a total area of over 732 hectares. It houses 174 graves, is 286.7 meters long and has a width of 134.2 meters. It has a parking area of over 9 824 m2, while a three-kilometre palisade fence protects the monument.
The making of Heroes’ Acre
The construction of Heroes’ Acre and a Memorial Museum in Namibia was conceived by President Sam Nujoma while attending an OAU Summit in Harare in 1997.
The City of Windhoek identified and donated over 732 hectares of land, less then ten kilometres south of city, to the government for the construction of Heroes’ Acre. It was designed by a team of North Korean experts, in collaboration with the City of Windhoek, the Ministry of Basic Education and Culture, the National Monuments Council and the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication.
Heroes’ Acre is situated between two hills, creating an impressive ambience for the visitor as it lies sprawled on the slopes of the larger southern hill. The site also allows for easy access for service- and maintenance teams.
A white obelisk, the tallest element on the site, forms a distinct landmark which is clearly visible from the city centre. White marble and black granite from Karibib on the edge of the Namib Desert were used to clad all the concrete structures.
The layout of Heroes’ Acre is a symmetrical polygon consisting of:
- a public seating area that can accommodate 5 000 people;
- an arrival platform which is the lowest part of the "saddle";
- the main area consisting of graves;
- the obelisk area; and
- a staircase walkway leading to the pavilion, which allows for a panoramic view of the City of Windhoek.
The main attractions at Heroes’ Acre are the eternal flame that burns 24-hours a day, the heroes’ medal, the eight-meter-tall sculpture of the "Unknown Soldier", the curved relief depicting the struggle and the pavilion. Other interesting features include the gateway, the sculptured couple on the roundabout and the restaurant.
In his inaugural address, President Sam Nujoma stated that "Heroes’ Acre is a place for all Namibians, irrespective of their political, racial, ethnic or religious background, to come and honour those sons and daughters of our soil who sacrificed their lives, and those who, during their lifetimes, made great and meaningful contributions to the liberation of the ‘Land of the Brave’ and all her people in their diversity. Compatriots, this monument was built as our token of honour to our fallen heroes and heroines. It was built in the true African tradition of bestowing honour to our forefathers and mothers."
- Windhoek Central Railway Station
- Old Prison in Goethe Street
- College of the Arts in Fidel Castro Street
- Old Government Survey Office in Robert Mugabe Avenue
- Turnhalle Building in Bahnhof Street
- Old Brewery on the corner of Sam Nujoma and Tal Streets
- Tintenpalast in Robert Mugabe Avenue
- Elizabeth House (Polytechnic of Namibia)
- Schwerinsburg (Sperlingslust) in Henitzburg Street
Old Windhoek cemeteries
These are the oldest cemeteries in Windhoek and are situated on both sides of Robert Mugabe Avenue. These cemeteries were first used in 1892 and were later expanded in 1904. Soldiers who died during the Nama and Herero Wars are buried here. The graves of German officials, settlers, civilians and members of the Witbooi clan are all to be found here.
Victims of the influenza epidemic are also buried in the western extension of the cemetery. Troops of the Union of South Africa and German forces who died during WWI also lie buried in this cemetery.
Old Location Cemetery
This cemetery was used from 1927 to 1960 and was commissioned by the Windhoek Municipality, because there was no space in the Gammams Cemetery which had been in use since 1904. there is an historic mass grave of those who were shot and killed on 10 December 1959 for refusing to be forcibly removed from the old location to Katutura.
Von François Fort (Khomas Hochland, Windhoek)
This fort was erected by the Schutztruppe to protect the cattle and horses of the armed forces against the Witbooi-Namas. This fort was used as a resting place for the forces and served as a stop-over for Curt von Francois’s trek form Tsaobis to Windhoek in 1890. The fort was at times used for the sobering up of intoxicated soldiers from Windhoek, but it was totally discarded in 1893. the fort is situated on Farm 371, Karanab, in the Khomas Hochland.
The Alte Feste was commissioned by Curt von François and built by Gustav Tunschel. Building started on 18 October 1890. The fort was built with flat stones retrieved from the Windhoek area. A brick furnace was later built and bricks were simultaneously baked and air- dried. The fort was completed in 1893 and was extended to its present state in 1901 by the architect Gottlieb Redecker.
Ten-man House (Tienmannhaus)
This building was commissioned and constructed between 1906 and 1907 by the German colonial government. It was built to accommodate ten single bachelors who worked for the administration at the time. The building was designed by Gottlieb Redecker and built by Hobe, Hoch and Matheis. The foundations are of clay and the walls are of unbaked clay. The building still has its original corrugated iron roof.
The Erkrath Building was constructed as a residence and business premises of Ein- und Verkaufsgenossenschaft Gmbh. The premises were bought in 1910 by Verkaufsgenossenschaft Gmbh and the building was constructed by Sander and Koch. The upper floor was used by the firm’s employees and the ground floor was used for the storage of meat and other fresh produce.
This building was constructed in 1913 as a residence and business site for Heinrich Gathemann, Mayor of Klein Windhoek and member of the Legislative Council. Another building was designed and erected by Sanders for Mr Gathemann between 1927 and 1928. It was built to blend in well with the previous one. Both these buildings are made of stone and corrugated iron.
Kronprinz Hotel Building
The structure was designed and built by Sanders and was completed in 1902. It was extended a few times, first in 1908 and again in 1920. It stands out as one of the few original building on Independence Avenue today.
Old Prison Building
The original building was commissioned by the German government’s Division of Works; Gottlied Redecker supervised its construction. It was erected between 1906 and 1907 and was used a prison until 1963.
The foundation is made of stone in lime mortar. The two towers consist of a guardroom, a prison kitchen and a store room. The original building consisted of the two towers, two quarters for married prison wardens, two kitchens and a storeroom. The prison had 35 single holding cells and five communal ones. A new prison was built during the 1960s since this one needed too many alterations and was becoming impractical and confined.
This is the oldest Evangelical Lutheran church and was designed by Gottlieb Redecker. The stone-laying ceremony took place on 11 August 1907 and the church was sanctified in 1910.
Various materials and objects in the church, like the bronze bells, stained glass windows and the altar, were donated by different people and firms in Germany.
This building was built in the neo-Romanic style and shows an influence of Art Nouveau, which was popular in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. The walls of the church are built with sandstone found in the Windhoek area, and the entrance is made of Carrarian marble from Italy. The church tower is 42 meters in height. The names of all German officers, soldiers and settlers who were killed during the colonial wars in Namibia appear on a bronze plaque attached to a wall in the church.
Roman Catholic Cathedral, Werner List Street
The cornerstone of one of the towers was laid in March, 1903. The church building was extended in 1913 under the auspices of the firm Kock and Schmidt. A second tower was added and the nave was extended eastwards. These were sanctified on 24 April 1932 as St Mary’s Cathedral.
The cathedral was also built in the neo-Romanic style, with the stained-glass windows being made in Windhoek and the other lead- and stained-glass windows in Munich, Germany. The floor is made from Namibian stone, while the altar and some of the chairs are made from granite from Karibib. There were several other changes and extensions made to the church, in 1971, 1993 and 1994.
Alte Feste Museum (Robert Mugabe Avenue)
A Historical Museum
Tel: +264 (61) 293 4362
Fax: +264 (61) 228 636
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 08h00 – 17h00; Sat – Sun: 10h00 – 12h00 and 14h00 – 18h00
Please note during the winter, the museum will close at 17h00. Entrance: Free
Owela Museum (Robert Mugabe Avenue)
Natural History and Dioramas of Traditional Village Life
Tel: +264 (61) 276 800
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 09h00 – 18h00
Entrance: Free, but donations are accepted
TransNamib Museum (Banhof Street)
Railway Transport and Telecommunication Museum
1st Floor, Windhoek Railway Station
Tel: + 264 (61) 298 2186
Fax: + 264 (61) 298 2079
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 08h00 – 13h00 and 14h00 – 17h00 Sat and Sun: Closed
Entrance: Adults N$ 5.00; Children N$ 3.00
Geological Survey Museum (Aviation Road near the Eros Airport)
A Natural Sciences Museum
This museum of natural science contains displays of minerals, fossils and meteorites, with explanations of their geological context. Namibia’s mining activities and geology are depicted with collections of maps, ore samples and photographs. 1 Aviation Street, Windhoek
Tel/Fax: + 264 (61) 208 5206
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 08h00 – 17h00