The historical Town Paarl
The house „Perle unter der Sonne“ is located in the middle of Paarl in the heart of the Cape wine region at the Western Cape Province in South Africa.
The name Paarl means „Pearl“. As a Boer settler, Abraham Gabbema, reached the town on 22nd October 1657 he was overwhelmed by the view of the massive Granite domes of the mountain at the edge of the valley at the east. These ridge was shining in the morning sun like a pearl. Today the name of this 728 m high mountain is Paarl Mountain and it’s a national monument since 1963.
The name of the town is spelled Pêrel (the Afrikaans equivalent for the Dutch Paarl).
The town has more than 100.000 residents and lies next to the Berg River. In the north it touches the also historic town Wellington.
Paarl is based in the Western Cape Province about 50 km away from Cape Town Airport and in the middle of a picturesque valley. The central location of the town offers ideal sight-seeing tours to Cape Town, to both coastal sides with Atlantic and Indian Ocean as well as Nature reserves, and the world famous vineyards. Paarl is renowned for many close-by Hiking trails through the wonderful scenary of South Africa. Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, are also just down the road in the surrounding mountains less than 30 Min. driving time.
Animal lovers will also get what they’re looking for here – Lions, Antelopes, Giraffe, Ostrich, Reptiles, Birds, Butterflies, Penguins or Sharks (Cage Diving). There is various animal attractions for all tastes.
Paarl was officially founded in 1690 (the first farm was already build at about 1687). In this region Huguenots from France settled here first. They built up the South African wine industry with its center around Paarl and Stellenbosch. One of the biggest Winemaker co-operations (KWV – Kooperatieve Wijnbouwers-Vereiniging van Zuid-Afrika Beperkt) has its main office in Paarl, and also some other important Vineyards are located in Paarl (e.g. Nederburg, Fairview, Glen Carlou). In addition, Paarl is known for their amazing fruits.
Paarl was also important for the evolution of Afrikaans language. On 14th August 1875 the “Community of the real Afrikaans people” (Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners) was founded with the target to establish Afrikaans also as a written language. This community published the first journal at 15th January 1876 in Afrikaans, first on a monthly basis, later weekly. The journal was replaced in 1905 by the local Paarl Post.
The Afrikaans Patriot was printed at the farm house of Gideon Malherbe, a co-founder of the Genotskap; since 14th August 1975 the Afrikaans Language Museum is based on the 1st floor of this building, also known as Gideon Malherbe Museum. The ground floor of the farm house is still in its original condition from the time of the Malherbe`s, who lived here from 1860 till 1921. The importance of the Afrikaans is also shown by the Afrikaanse Taalmonument (Monument of the Afrikaans language) which is located above the town.
Also interesting to know is that you’ll find the Victor-Vester-Prison in Paarl. This is the prison where Nelson Mandela was released on 11th February 1990.