Exploring the Heritage Gardens of Upper Houghton

Over the first weekend of October, the Heritage Portal of Johannesburg along with participating residents of Upper Houghton organized an event to showcase 9 heritage gardens in both private homes as well as St John’s College and the King Edward VII School. With spring well underway, this was a great chance to see some amazing places normally inaccessible by the general public.

36 St Patrick RoadVilla at 36 St Patrick Road

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Stepping Inside the Villa Arcadia for Joburg Heritage Weekend

Today, Sept 24th is a public holiday here in South Africa called Heritage Day. This holiday was created in order to celebrate the varied cultures and traditions across the nation. It has also more recently come to be known as National Braai Day (BBQ) but for purposes of this blog post, I am going to stick with the more traditional meaning.

This past weekend the Heritage Portal of Johannesburg organized a series of tours and walks to various heritage sites across the city. This was a great chance to explore some places that are not ordinarily open to the public. Everything sounded really interesting so it was a difficult decision but we decided to do the Villa Arcadia tour on Saturday afternoon.

Villa ArcadiaVilla Arcadia

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A Walk Through the Old Jewish Neighborhood of Doornfontein With Ancient Secrets

If you have already been following my blog, you probably know that I am a big fan of Ishvara Dhyan’s Ancient Secrets walks. As still a relative newcomer to Joburg, I really enjoy getting to know the fascinating neighborhoods that Ishvara has chosen for his walking tours. This has given me the opportunity to learn about many places that I probably previously would never have thought to step foot in. Doornfontein was the third walk we have done with Ishvara after the Troyeville Walk and the Jeppestown Walk.

What I find especially captivating about these walks is that each neighborhood is packed with a varied history and Ishvara is a master at relating the path of evolution these neighborhoods have taken through the years. It is often said that Johannesburg is a city that is constantly reinventing itself and I found this to be particularily true of the Doornfontein neighborhood.

Ellis ParkEllis Park

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An Artsy Afternoon at the Turbine Art Fair

The 2nd annual Turbine Art Fair was held from July 17-20 2014. This was a fantastic opportunity to view the talented work of a selection of South Africa’s top emerging artists. One of the emphases of the fair was accessibility of the artwork and for those attendees looking to add to their art collections or to get one started, all items were priced under 30,000 ZAR.

Turbine HallTurbine Hall

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A Walk Through Jeppestown with Ancient Secrets

After our first outing with Ishvara of Ancient Secrets for his Troyeville Walk, we needed no further convincing to sign up for the next scheduled visit to Jeppestown. Jeppestown is said to be Johannesburg’s oldest suburb, having been established around 1889 by Julius Jeppe. The neighborhood lies just to the east of the CBD (Central Business District) and is a fascinating historical and cultural blend.

Our walk commenced at the House of Baobab restaurant in the Maboneng Precinct with coffee and a sweet Tanzanian doughnut-like treat called Mandazi. The group then headed off into the heart of Jeppestown for the next 3+ hours lead by the captivating Ishvara Dhyan. Ishvara’s knowledge of the area is extraordinary and it would be impossible for me to share all the details here so for this blog post I am mainly going to focus on some photos with the hope that they may inspire you to take one of these tours yourself.

Mentis BuildingsMentis Buildings-Art Nouveau. Currently being used as private residences.

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