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Best Historic Locations in Johannesburg

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Liliesleaf is the site where members of the African National Congress revolted against the oppressive apartheid rule and plotted to bring down the despotic empire, which then led to the Rivonia Trial. Now converted into a history museum, Liliesleaf showcases the eventful past of the tribal land and the various hardships its revolutionaries faced in a bid to eradicate racism from the country. The farm's several rooms as well as outhouses are home to a wide collection of some riveting objects which provide a glimpse into the life and times of the iconic characters. The displays also acquaint visitors with how the activists drafted their plans against the cruel political forces. A key attraction is the 1980s' safari wagon which smuggled arms into the country. Declared as a heritage site, the museum is one of the must-visit places in Johannesburg.

The Cradle of Humankind is a pre-historic site like no other on Earth. Spread across over 18210.85 hectares (45,000 acres), the site is listed as a World Heritage Site because of the findings. The land is a maze of limestone caves where scientists have found many fossils and remains dating back to prehistoric times. The site has an abundance of dolomite, a type of rock formation, that helps with the formation of caves and fossils. Here excavations have found proof of human evolution and life. Among the 200 and more caves, there are around 13 sites where significant fossils have been found. Among the findings are tools made and used by humans at that time and remains of extinct animals. Some of the fossils are approximately 3 million years old and this site is said to have some of the oldest fossils ever found. The Mrs. Ples and Taung remains were found here at this site. Both the remains are significant findings and nothing like it has ever been found before.

This area of Johannesburg is filled with mixed themes and is rife with history. A symbol of South Africa's journey to freedom, the Constitutional Court sits where the Old Fort Prison Complex used to house both political and common criminals. Figures such as Robert Sobukwe, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were once imprisoned in these walls until its closure in 1983. This site has been transformed into a monument of justice. Guided and interactive tours are scheduled regularly.

Stumbled upon by limestone miners and excavated in the late 19th Century, the Sterkfontein Caves feature astonishing palaeo-anthropological findings that rendered it the moniker – 'The Cradle of Humankind'. This set of subterranean caves, replete with knotted stalactite deposits and stone-hewn twists extending from its roof, were first excavated in detail by Professor Raymond Dart and Dr. Robert Broom of the University of Witwatersrand, who documented the remarkable presence of hominin remains in its cavernous depths. These 3-million year old remains were that of 'Mrs. Ples', the first complete Australopithecus skull to be discovered, and an even older Australopithecus skeleton known as 'Little Foot'. This evidentiary site of evolutionary enigmas was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000, and continues to instill awe and wonder several years after its serendipitous discovery.

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