If you are in search of Johannesburg history, this is the number one choice, the information is more substantial with over 20 chapters from as many contributors and there are more illustrations and this volume contains Macmillan's own somewhat dated rather bad poems on Johannesburg. The most useful chapters for the purposes of historical background and research are those on pre history contributed by Raymond Dart.
History by the important early Joburg historian, Hedley Chilvers, a chapter on the contribution of the Strubens brothers by Arthur Struben, the son of Harry Struben and rail transport. There is a substantial chapter on the five regiments of Johannesburg and finally the chapter on the gold mining industry by FA Osborn is a thumbnail sketch of the issues and problems of the gold mining industry of the thirties. There is a helpful coverage too of the seven gold mining groups which had emerged triumphant and dominant by the early s.
In contrast, Homes of the Golden City is a hard cover book rust brown cloth boards with gothic script golden lettering for the title.
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Price range R to over R Because this volume simply reproduces 6 chapters , which had already been published in the earlier Golden City, it was a "potboiler", but the novelty lay in the new chapter by G E Pearse and in that rich archive of photographs of Johannesburg homes. All of this means that both volumes become collectable despite the repetition. So the bad news is that the serious Johannesburg collector needs both volumes. The books were a combination of historical, descriptive and commercial.
They were meant to be sold to and perhaps read by the affluent in their homes and businesses and were the coffee table volumes of their day. The books also had the flavour of a period anthology, more so because of the advisement the books carried. Chapters were contributed by well known figures of the era, one presumes these were paid contributions. Phillips was the professor of Botany at the University of the Witwatersrand and Head of the Department between and However, I should add that all these chapters with the exception of the Pearse chapter had already appeared in the earlier, The Golden City.
Pearse was the distinguished professor of architectures at the University of the Witwatersrand , whose forte was 18th century furniture and Cape Architecture.
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Pearse's biography is on Artefacts. He was also the man who grappled with the modern wave in his memorable design of the now iconic Tower of Light for the Empire Exhibition of , so making his contribution to the International Style of Johannesburg. The Pearse chapter in Homes of the Golden City is a long rambling but interesting overview of the evolution of the grand house, rather in the style of the classic, Nathaniel Lloyd's a History of the English House.
But Pearse fails to include a single footnote, documentary source or cross reference to any other scholar, though in a single sentence he mentions the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright , Walter Gropius , Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier on what he calls a younger generation of South African architects, but frustratingly never drops a contemporary architect's name. The juxtaposing of themes such as Children of the Golden City, Native Folklore, Flora, Street Scenes add to the charm and period character of the book, though it reflects more of a pre WW2 stance than post WW2 anticipation of rapid change.
Clearly the commercial angle of the book and to turn the volume into a solid seller, was the inclusion of over illustrations of the modern suburban, important homes of Johannesburg.
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However, the weakness of the book is that there is barely any information about the photographs and as such it is a limited documentary source for heritage purposes. These illustrations on a double page spread are interleaved throughout the book and inserted between the text pages. So two pages of text are followed by two pages of illustrations. These photographs were all professionally taken, in black and white. The layout is mainly with four pictures on a double spread page. The caption below each of the illustrations gives a suburb and the current owner, but there is no address, no date, no architect.
Some houses I recognize and can pin point precisely and they are today the heritage gems of the suburbs I know well. I think this book is a rich documentary source, although limited at the moment as explained: its value lies in giving views of fine houses in the upper class suburbs in Johannesburg dating from a time of city prosperity, permanent settlement and affluence. I think the record of the house could become a part of the heritage case for preservation.
Built in it used to be a large stately townhouse. Now, completely renovated, it has kept all of the old world charm mixed in with contemporary decor. All rooms are spacious with large bathrooms, and lots of natural light. The Cosmopolitan Hotel Prague also offers a car service to pick you up from the airport. Do you have any idea what a relief it is to walk off the plane and already have a ride to your hotel? Lunch After checking in head straight to Lokal.
Cooking classic Czech dishes, they source their ingredients fresh regional. Beer is a huge part of the culture in and they take great pride in the pilsners. It would be a shame not to have one…. Try to stick around during dusk because the square lights up beautifully as the sun goes down.
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Pre-Dinner Cocktail One of the best wine bars in Prague is down a little hidden alley, which leads into a courtyard holding Bokovka. There is a vast array of wine on the list, however if you are a wine lover I suggest you try a Czech red or an Austrian white. From the ornate ceilings, the open kitchen, and the decadent cake case this restaurant exudes chic design. The chef is one of the best chefs in Prague and it shows in the intricately designed menu.
Take my advice and order the wild boar, with the Pinot Noir from Northern Czech Republic if still on menu. And do no skip dessert. I chose sweet dumplings with blueberry ice cream smothered in a luscious cherry glaze.
While this medieval bridge is gorgeous during the day, it is absolutely magical at night. So be sure to fit a night walk in during your stay! Morning Start your morning off early at Prague Castle. Be sure to get there 15 minutes before they open the gates. Trust me…. Not only do you have the castle but you also have the St. Within the park is a vineyard and a gazebo that you can sit and sip wine. It also offers some wonderful views of the city! As always, all opinions are my own. Lunch When exiting the castle, keep a look out on your right for Villa Richter.
Prague actually has quite a few vineyards within its city limits, and this one serves an incredible meal as well. Treat yourself to some views of Prague on the patio while enjoying a lovely lunch, and taste the wine of course!
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Afternoon Discover Lesser Town. This district of Prague is on the same side of the Charles Bridge as the castle. And, although all of Prague is visually stunning, Lesser Town is particularly beautiful. I could get lost in this neighborhood for days.
Within Lesser Town is Vojanovy Sady, a pretty public park full of wild peacocks. They usually stay towards the back in a pretty courtyard and are a sight to behold. Whether or not you are a bird lover this is an easy 20 minute trip to see just how vivid these creatures colors are. They hang out in the window sills with their silk tails trailing behind. They sit atop an arbor just like a postcard, and yes, they will walk right up to you and fluff up their feathers and give you a little booty shake.
It is quite entertaining. Definitely worth a stop in my book. And yet barely anyone was walking through while I was there. Charles Bridge Since you are on the castle side walk across the bridge and people watch carefully. Along the way you will notice magnificent statues on either side of the bridge, each with some religious connotation. At each statue people stop and pay their respects in different ways.