Religious Churches Around Harare

Have you ever wondered why our city looks the way it does? Has it always been this way? Could there be stories behind these structures what do they represent today? This has seen a fascinating and creative dialogue between planners, administrators, architects and developers to combine the best of the old with the best of the new. There is an intrinsic need to conserve individual buildings based symbolic, sentimental, historical and even entertainment value.

The Historic Buildings Advisory Committee to the National Museums and Monuments has a special criterion to select these buildings. It includes but not limited to the following:

  • The building has to have outstanding representation of a particular architectural style or type, workmanship.
  • The building is eccentric, original, incorporated unusual materials, the only remaining example of its kind.
  • It is a building that contributes to the environment, and historical associations with either people or events??

Some of the historical buildings preserved include the Catholic Cathedral and Anglican Cathedral among others. The Catholic Cathedral of Sacred Heart is situated at corner Simon Vengayi Muzenda Av and Herbert Chitepo Street. Whereas, the Anglican Cathedral of Saint Mary and All Saints is situated corner Nelson Mandela Street and Sam Nujoma Street.

The Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart was built by French and German brothers with the assistance of African tradesman instead of Europeans tradesman, which was unusual for the 1950s. It stands in Gothic style, the last echo of medieval world of craft. Most of the work was carried out in Chishawasha 2 days away by ox-wagon. Now, a mere 30-minute drive. Overall the building took 18 months to complete. The architect, Father Le Boenf has other notable works that include the St Georges College, Dominican Convent among other mission churches.

The Cathedral of saint Mary and all Saints was built in Romanesque style between 1913-1964.This Cathedral has many outstanding features including the original cross in St Georges Chapel made of Cigar boxes, carved altar rail, high granite arches and beautiful cloisters.

It seems indispensable to foster appreciation for how surrounding structures affect our lives in a broader cultural and social context and absolutely fun to discover this history and secrets of this city in the company of other travellers and locals.

 By Lynette Gonga

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