Windhoek

Capital City of Namibia

The capital city of Namibia, Windhoek, is traditionally known by two names: Ai-Gams and Otjomuise. Ai-Gamswhich from the Nama people refers to the hot springs that were once part of Windhoek, while Otjomuise means a place of steam that was given by the Herero people. The city is located in a basin between the Khomas Highland, Auas and Eros Mountains. There are many theories on how Ai-Gams/Otjomuise got its modern name Windhoek. There are those who believe the name Windhoek is derived from the Afrikaans word Wind-Hoek, meaning "corner of wind," while others think that the Afrikaners named Windhoek after the Windhoek Mountains, at Tulbagh in South Africa, where the early Afrikaners settlers lived. Windhoek was the point of contact between the warring Namas, led by Jan Jonker Afrikaner, and the Herero. The early settlements of Windhoek came about because of the water from the hot springs. In the mid-1800's Jan Jonker Afrikaner, a Nama leader, named the area Winterhoek, after the farm in South Africa where he was born. Windhoek is a corruption of Winterhoek. Jan Jonker Afrikaner settled near one of the main hot springs, located in the present-day Klein-Windhoek, an upper-class suburb of Windhoek. Afrikaners built a stone church in Windhoek which was also used as a school. Hugo Hahn and Heinrich Kleinschmidt (Rhenish missionaries) started working there in the 1840s and were later succeeded by two Wesleyans. Windhoek prospered, but wars between the Nama and Herero eventually destroyed the town. Windhoek was founded on 18th October 1890, when Von Francois laid the foundation stone of the fort, which is now known as the Alte Feste (Old Fortress). Windhoek developed slowly, with only the most essential government and private buildings being erected. After 1907, development accelerated as people migrated from within country to the city and also some emigrated from outside the country. There was also a larger influx of western settlers arriving from Germany and South Africa. The German colonial era came to an end during World War I when South African troops occupied Windhoek. For the next five years, a military government administered South West Africa. Development of the city and the nation later to be known as Namibia came to a virtual standstill. The city’s development gained momentum after World War II as more capital became available to improve the area's economic climate. With Namibia's independence from South African administration in 1990, the city experienced a new wind of change that led to accelerated growth and development. The city centre is characterized by a large number of German style buildings, a lasting reminder of Namibia's early colonial history. Windhoek has Namibia's only international airport. During South African occupation the city was divided into: Windhoek for the whites, Khomasdal for the colored and Katatura for the blacks. Despite the large increase in population over the last few years the city centre is extremely clean, and trouble free. Most tourists pronounce Windhoek to be an un-African city. Windhoek is home to Namibia's brewing industry. The influence of the German language and culture is, in many ways, still present. There are German restaurants where one can have traditional German dishes, bread and beer, and even celebrate the German carnival. Although English is the official language, one can use German just about anywhere. Reference: http://www.africanexecutive.com www.namibian.org/travel/namibia/windhoek.htm en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windhoek www.windhoekcc.org.na

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