Namibia

Windhoek

on Thursday, 15 September 2011. Posted in Namibia

Windhoekis the capital and largest city of the Republic of Namibia. It is located in central Namibia in the Khomas Highland plateau area, at around 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) above sea level. The 2001 census determined Windhoek's population was 233,529. A population influx from all over Namibia has caused researchers to estimate the figure now to be well over 300,000.

Due to its relative size Windhoek is, even more than many other national capital cities, the social, economic, and cultural centre of the country. Nearly every national enterprise is headquartered here. The University of Namibia is, too, as are the country's only theatre, all ministry head offices, and all major media and financial entities.The governmental budget of the city of Windhoek nearly equals those of all other Namibian local authorities combined.

The City of Windhoek is traditionally known by two names: |Ai?Gams, (Khoekhoe: hot springs) and Otjomuise

(Otjiherero: place of steam). Both traditional names reference the hot springs near today's city centre.

Theories vary on how the place got its modern name of Windhoek. Most believe it is derived from the Afrikaans word Wind-Hoek (wind corner). Another theory suggests that Captain Jonker Afrikaner named Windhoek after the Winterhoek Mountains at Tulbagh in South Africa, where his ancestors had lived. The first mention of the name Windhoek occurred in a letter from Jonker Afrikaner to Joseph Tindall, dated 12 August 1844.

 Pre-colonial

Around 1840, Jonker Afrikaner established a settlement at Windhoek. He and his followers stayed near one of the main hot springs, located in the present-day Klein Windhoek suburb. He built a stone church that held 500 people, which was also used as a school. Two Rhenish missionaries, Carl Hugo Hahn and Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt, started working there in late 1842 and were two years later driven out[8] by two Wesleyans, Richard Haddy and Joseph Tindall. Gardens were laid out and for a while Windhoek prospered, but wars between the Nama and Herero eventually destroyed the settlement. After a long absence, Hahn visited Windhoek again in 1873 and was dismayed to see that nothing remained of the town's former prosperity. In June 1885, a Swiss botanist found only jackals and starving guinea fowl amongst neglected fruit trees.

Sanderburg, one of the three castles of Windhoek

[edit] Colonial era

In 1878, Britain annexed Walvis Bay and incorporated it into the Cape of Good Hope in 1884, but Britain did not extend its influence into the hinterland. A request by merchants from Lüderitzbucht resulted in the declaration of a German protectorate over German West Africa in 1884. The German colony came into being with the determination of its borders in 1890 and Germany sent a protective corps, called the Schutztruppe under Major Curt von François, to maintain order. Von François stationed his garrison at Windhoek, which was strategically situated as a buffer between the Nama and Herero, while the twelve strong springs provided water for the cultivation of food.

Present-day Windhoek was founded on 18 October 1890, when Von François fixed the foundation stone of the fort, which is now known as the Alte Feste (Old Fortress). After 1907, development accelerated as people migrated from the countryside to the city. There was also a larger influx of European settlers arriving from Germany and South Africa. Businesses were erected on Kaiser Street, present Independence Avenue, and along the dominant mountain ridge over the city. At this time, Windhoek's three castles, Heinitzburg, Sanderburg, and Schwerinsburg, were built.Independence Avenue, the main street in downtown Windhoek

Foreign administration after World War I

The German colonial era came to an end during World War I when South African troops occupied Windhoek in May 1915 on behalf of the British Empire. For the next five years, a military government administered South West Africa. Development of the city of Windhoek and the nation later to be known as Namibia came to a virtual standstill. After World War II, Windhoek's development gradually gained momentum, as more capital became available to improve the area's economic climate. After 1955, large public projects were undertaken, such as the building of new schools and hospitals, tarring of the city's roads (a project begun in 1928 with Kaiser Street), and the building of dams and pipelines to finally stabilize the water supply.[10] It also introduced the World's first potable re-use plant in 1958, treating recycled sewage and sending it directly into the town's water supply.

 Since Namibian independence With Namibia's independence from South African administration in 1990, Windhoek was recognised as the capital city of South-West Africa as administered by the South African government. It continues to be the capital city of the Republic of Namibia, as well as the provincial capital of the central Khomas Region. Since then the city experienced accelerated growth and development.

The city is the major commercial and financial center of Namibia. It sits on a sloping plain on the northern side of the Khomas Hochland (Khomas Highlands) at an altitude of 1,728 metres (5,669 ft).

Expanding the town area has – apart from financial restrictions – proven to be challenging due to its geographical location. In southern, eastern and western direction Windhoek is surrounded by rocky, mountainous areas which make land development costly. The southern side is not suitable for industrial development because of the presence of underground aquifers. This leaves the vast Brakwater area north of town the only feasible place for Windhoek's expansion.

Windhoek is situated in a semi-arid climatic region. Days are mostly warm with very hot days during the summer months, while nights are generally cool. The average annual temperature is 19.47 °C (67.05 °F), which is high for a site at such a high altitude on the edge of the tropics. This is mainly due to the prevalence of a warm northerly airflow and the mountains to the south, which shelter the city from cold southerly winds.

The winter months of June, July and August usually experience little or no rain. Minimum temperatures range between 5 °C (41 °F) and 18 °C (64 °F). Nights are usually cool, although the temperature seldom drops below 0°C, and it almost never snows. Days are usually warm to hot, varying from a maximum of 20 °C (68 °F) in July to 31 °C (88 °F) in January.

In 1971, there were roughly 26,000 Whites living in Windhoek, outnumbering the Black population of 24,000 but no longer. About one third of Whites, 9,000, were Germans.

Windhoek's population currently[update] stands at over 300,000 (67% blacks, 16% whites, 17% Coloureds, Basters and Asians) and grows by over 4% annually with the informal settlements growing at almost 10% per year.

Air Namibia has its main office in the Trans Namib Building in Windhoek. Several shopping malls were built in the post-independence era, including Maerua Mall, and Wernhil Park Mall.

Parliament GardensChrist Church

Tintenpalast in Windhoek

* Christ Church - A Lutheran church. Construction on the church was begun under Pastor Wilhelm Anz in April 1896. After the end of the wars between the Germans and the Khoikhoi, Herero, and Ovambo, it was dedicated as the Church of Peace in 1910. The Lutheran Church, which was built in the gothic revival style with Art Nouveau elements, stands in the historic center of Windhoek. Its 24 m high spire was made, like the rest of the church, out of quartz sandstone. The exception is the portal and the altar, which are made of marble. The colourful stained-glass windows in the sanctuary were a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Church is next to the Parliament Gardens and Tintenpalast.

* St. Mary's Cathedral

* Zoo Park - a public park on Independence Avenue in downtown Windhoek. The current park is landscaped and features a pond, children's playground and open-air theatre.

* Tintenpalast - German for "Ink Palace", is the seat of both chambers of the Namibian legislature, the National Council and the National Assembly. It is located just north of Robert Mugabe Avenue, and was designed by the architect Gottlieb Redecker and built by the company Sander & Kock between 1912 and 1913 out of regional materials as an administration building for the German government, which colonised Namibia at the time. The building is surrounded by the Parliament Gardens.

* Alte Feste- German for "Old Fortress". Built in 1890, today houses the National Museum

* Supreme Court of Namibia

* The three castles of Windhoek built by architect Wilhelm Sander: Heinitzburg, Sanderburg, and Schwerinsburg

* National Library of Namibia

* Windhoek Railway Station

* Holy Cross Convent School - built in 1906

* Daan Viljoen Game Reserve -situated near Windhoek

* Windhoek Public Library - built in 1925, next to the Alte Feste

* Note: Room prices change constantly. You should check the latest availability as in many cases the room price can be even lower than the listed price on the LastBeds website.