Old Towns and Villages of the Cape, by Hans Fransen
Hans Fransen's book Old Towns and Villages of the Cape is a survey of the origin and development of towns, villages and hamlets at the Cape of Good Hope, with particular reference to their physical planning and historical townscape.
The old Cape Province of South Africa is widely renowned for the variety and beauty of its scenery. Over the last three centuries and a half it has also become the home of styles of traditional domestic architecture - and in particular the style known as 'Cape Dutch' - as distinctive and appealing as any in the Old World. Similarly, Cape Town, its focal point, is stunningly situated, and so are many of the country towns that sprang up over time to the east and north of the province. But 'the Cape' is perhaps not the place to search for cities, towns or villages that are works of art in their own right, a condition to which we know cities are capable of aspiring. Most of its towns - which for the first two centuries as 'Cape Colony' were small and very few in number - were designed by hasty land-surveyors. They cut up available pieces of farmland into rectangles for quick sale to people wanting to live, retire, do business or grow produce near a newly founded church or administrative or commercial centre. And to many a traveller of today, a Cape provincial town is a place where one may stop to fill up one's tank and have a hamburger - both places garishly signposted - then drive on as soon as possible to reach one's holiday destination or business appointment by nightfall. Indeed, we do not have an Amsterdam, a Salzburg or a Toledo in this part of the world. But this book will show that Cape Town and many of our towns and villages were charming places a century or less ago, and not just because of the absence of filling stations and scrapyards and because apartment blocks had not yet taken the place of backyard orchards. In the way the villagers and village builders managed to 'furnish' and humanise even the more unimaginative town layouts handed them by the land-surveyors, they produced genuinely sympathetic and harmonious built environments. Many of these towns have retained some of that charm, even if the visitor has to make a short detour through some of the back streets to find it. It is the intention of this book to trace the beginnings and early development of the towns and villages of the Cape, the factors that governed their planning morphology, and to try and illustrate their pre-industrial townscape. In doing so, in addition to taking an unashamedly nostalgic look at their past, it is hoped that the book will help the present inhabitants of these towns to identify, understand and respect that character in their efforts to develop them, and thus to assist these people in retaining them as environments in which it is good to live and work. The book is also meant to serve as a guide for visitors to the towns of the Cape, including those towns that may not immediately strike them as being of great historical and/or aesthetic significance.
This is an excerpt from the book: Old Towns and Villages of the Cape, by Hans Fransen.
Title: Old Towns and Villages of the Cape
Autor: Hans Fransen
Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers SA
Cape Town, South Africa 2007
ISBN 9781868422272 / ISBN 978-1-86842-227-2
Hardcover, 25x36 cm, 368 pages, numerous b/w photos
Fransen, Hans im Namibiana-Buchangebot
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