The city of Bloemfontein, popularly known as the City of Roses, is ideally situated mid-way between the major centers of South Africa. The city is also known as Mangaung, the Sesotho name meaning "place of the cheetahs".
Due to Bloemfontein's central position the city offers a wide range of accommodation, restaurants and conference facilities. Bloemfontein provides the perfect break between Gauteng and the Western Cape.
It is the sixth largest city in South Africa and also the Judicial Capital of the country, home to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
Bloemfontein was officially founded in 1846 as a fort by British army major Henry Douglas Warden. Literally translated Bloemfontein means "fountain of flowers". Bloemfontein served as the Capital of the Orange River Colony and since that time as the Provincial Capital of the Free State. In 1910 it became the Judicial Capital of the Union of South Africa.
The African National Congress was founded in Bloemfontein on the 8th January 1912 at the Waaihoek Wesleyan Church.
Bloemfontein forms part of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and is home to approximately 370 000 people. It is the largest commercial centre in the Free State.
The oldest building in Bloemfontein is the Old Raadsaal which was built in 1849. Other old and interesting buildings in the city include the Anglican Cathedral, the Old Presidency built in 1861, the Twin-Spire Church completed in 1880, the Fourth Raadsaal built in 1893, Maphikela House and the Appeal Court built in 1929.
Bloemfontein houses the Supreme Court of Appeal, Free State Provincial Government, Bram Fischer International Airport, National Museum, National Afrikaans Literature Museum, National Women's Memorial and War Museum, Maphikela House and the Franklin Game Reserve, a unique 250 ha reserve situated on Naval Hill in the heart of the city.
Bloemfontein also houses the University of the Free State, the Central University of Technology and world renowned schools such as Grey College, St Andrews, Oranje Meisieskool and Eunice Girls High.
Bloemfontein is home to the Cheetahs rugby team, the Knights cricket team and the Bloemfontein Celtic soccer team.