Greenmarket Square Cape Town

Greenmarket Square Cape Town is one of those top attractions that everyone should visit at least once.

Originally built in 1969 as an administrative and social centre, a burger watch house was built on the square to provide security. After the city’s early establishment in 1652, a number of streets above Strand Street began to be developed. The VOC (Dutch East India) initially created the Company Gardens as a market garden that supplied ships coming into the harbour. Greenmarket Square evolved naturally into the ideal venue to sell fresh produce from the garden and nearby farms. Soon afterwards, the market began to sell slaves and other services. A fountain was built on the square to provide locals with fresh drinking water, and properties alongside the square were developed.

Greenmarket Square Cape Town

By 1761, the watch house built on the square was demolished, and the Old Town House built in its place, functioning as the City Hall and the Burgher watch house for a few years. This building still remains today, housing the Michaelis Collection of art. In 1879 the Central Metropolitan Church was built. By the completion of the Cape Town city hall in 1905, trade had moved to the Grand Parade. In the 1950s, the square was transformed into a parking lot, with the square and its surrounding buildings being declared a monument in 1961. By the end of the 1980s, the square was turned into a flea market – the early version of the Greenmarket Square found today. The square was the centre of many anti-apartheid protests. After being pedestrianised in the early 2000s, the square provided better access and safety.

Why Visit Greenmarket Square in Cape Town?

Now that you know a little about the square’s history, let’s take a look at some important facts on Greenmarket Square in Cape Town…

Location: Corner of Short and Longmarket Streets, City Centre
Trading Hours: Monday to Saturday, 09h00 to 17h00
Goods: African curios, clothing, music, jewellery and various other items

Why should you visit this slice of Cape Town history?

Why Visit Greenmarket Square Cape Town

While the goods that can be bought here range in quality, it is the heritage and iconic nature of the square that makes it a worthwhile addition to any Cape Town sight-seeing plans. The square is large and cobbled, with ancient trees surrounding it along with beautiful old heritage buildings. The vibe here is always amazing, too. Look out for the famous Eggman (trust us… you will know him when you see him, thanks to his massive towering head dress made up of eggs and feathers), buskers and street artists, people from all walks of life, sidewalk cafes under the trees and other interesting sights.

Whether you spend a few hours exploring the market and its surrounding highlights that range from St George’s Mall to the South African National Museum and Company Gardens, or you stop for lunch at a nearby cafe, a visit to Greenmarket Square in Cape Town is always interesting.


Keen to see this attraction and other city highlights? Book your spot on our fantastic Half Day Cape Town City Tour. This tour includes a host of attractions in the urban hub of the Mother City, from Greenmarket to Bo Kaap, the Cape Castle, the V&A Waterfront and many others. Contact us today to find out more about Greenmarket Square Cape Town and the City Tour!

Top Image: Suzi-k, Wikimedia Commons

About The Author: Rox

Cape Town based copywriter, blogger, baker of cookies, seeker of calm and maker of things.
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