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Windhoek is the country’s capital, situated in a valley that is surrounded by the Auasberghe Mountains. The city has an airy, European feel to it, it was mainly built by the Germans before independence.
The main street, Independance Avenue, is the centre of a shopping complex that is modern and expanding rapidly. There are permanent shops as well as street vendors who sell anything from fashion to food.
A lot of the historical buildings in the city were built at the turn of the 20th Century, and are within walking distance of the centre of the town. There is a sculpture that is particularly impressive in the middle of the main mall, which is made of 33 meteorites that were found south of the city. They are thought to have been part of the world’s heaviest meteorite shower ever, from about 600 million years ago. The west side of Independence Avenue has three fine buildings on it which were designed by Willi Sander, a German architect.
On the right is Erkraths Building, the centre is Gathemann House and to the left is the Kronprinz Hotel. These are all distinguishable as European houses by the design of the roofs, which are designed to prevent accumulation of snow on top of the house, ironically! In the Zoo Park palm trees rest on green lawns, and in one particular spot a metre high Elephant Column stands. This is the site where elephant remains and tools were discovered, and the carvings on the column depict an elephant hunt. A fossil of an elephant skull sits on the top of the column, making an impressive sight. Windhoek’s most famous building is the Christus Kirche, a church in art nouveau and neo-Gothic style built out of local sandstone.
The museums and galleries in Windhoek are second only to those in Swakopmund. The best museum is the Alte Feste and State Museum, which concentrates on the country’s history and has old wagons and a steam engine on the front terrace of the building. There is a wing on the rock-art and beadwork too.
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