Pretoria City Profile

For four decades, the country's administrative capital suffered as being synonymous with the apartheid system.

However, the "Pretoria regime" has been consigned to history and this naturally beautiful city has swiftly been reborn as a vibrant, culturally diverse and increasingly optimistic place.

Just 25min up the N1 highway from the prospective Fifa headquarters in Sandton, the city offers wonderful gardens, modern shopping malls and, in certain quarters, a bohemian vibe.

Named after Andries Pretorius, one of the Boer military heroes, Pretoria was established as the nation's capital in 1910 and this rich history is felt in the keenly preserved Church Square, around which the city seems to have grown and spread.

The Union Buildings remain the city's trademark. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker and completed in 1913, this fine, stylish structure presides over the city and provided the venue for the inaugurations of President Mandela in 1994 and President Mbeki in 1999.

The advent of democracy has sprouted offbeat cafés, a relaxed mood and a sense of fun in Pretoria that will be felt by anyone visiting Pretoria as a major venue for a 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa.

Sporting Heritage

The administrative capital rallies in support of two top Premiership soccer clubs, Sundowns and Supersport United.

The city also enjoys a strong heritage in rugby, cricket and athletics. Loftus Versfeld hosted major matches in both the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the African Cup of Nations in 1996.

Centurion Park featured as a major venue during the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003 and the Pilditch Stadium has staged many of South Africa's most important and memorable athletics meetings.

Typically, crowds are large and well informed, and the city's excellent accommodation and transport facilities are accustomed to the demands brought by hosting major sporting events.

Loftus Versveld stadium in Pretoria, Gauteng, is to undergo minor upgrades for 2010, and has a capacity of 45 000. It will host four first-round matches and one second-round.

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