March 21, 2016

2394 SOUTH AFRICA - Paarl - part of Early Farmsteads of the Cape Winelands (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

Located just outside Cape Town, in the Western Cape province, Paarl is the third oldest European settlement in South Africa and the largest town in the Cape Winelands, which have gained acclaim the world over for the fabulous wines that it produces as well as the natural beauty of the area. The name Paarl means "pearl" and reflects the iconic rounded shape of three granite outcrops forming the top of Pearl Mountain, visible for miles.

In 1687, Governor Simon van der Stel gave title to the first colonial farms in the area to "free burghers". The following year, the French Huguenots arrived in the Western Cape and began to settle on farms in the area. The fertile soil and the Mediterranean-like climate of this region provided perfect conditions for farming. The settlers planted orchards, vegetable gardens and above all, vineyards. Thus began Paarl's long and continuing history as a major wine and fruit producing area of South Africa.

Nowadays, a very important tourist attraction to Paarl is its wine route. This route combines world-class wines with breath-taking scenery to create an idyllic destination for just about anybody. The sweltering, dry summers and chilly winters give Paarl the perfect climate for an array of wine varieties. Whether red white or rosé, sparkling or dessert, Paarl’s produce is consistently respected amongst wine connoisseurs the world over. Some of the vineyards are small and intimate, while others are massive estates.

KWV is one of the leading wine and spirits producers in South Africa and has a distinguished heritage, celebrated around the globe, of product innovation and exceptional brands. From its earliest roots in 1918 as a small co-operative of growers, KWV has grown into a global producer of over 100 products. The Paarl Cellar is the largest in the world, covering an area of 22 hectares. A tour of the cellar begins with an audiovisual presentation, then a visit to the famous Cathedral Cellar with its barrel-vaulted roof.

With its vineyards, orchards and fields, farmsteads and outbuildings, settlements, villages and towns nestling on the slopes of the Cape’s mountains or on the plains along water courses, the Cape Winelands illustrates the impact of human settlement, labour  practices (including  that of slaves) and agricultural activities since colonialization in the mid-17th century on the natural landscape, so in 2015 it was proposed to be included among UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

About the maxicard
The maxicard is one of the four which forms the set issued in 1987 to mark 300th Anniversary of Paarl.

About the stamps
Two of the stamps are part of the South Africa 8th series of definitives stamps, named Beadwork, about which I wrote here. The third stamp is part of the series Fauna and Flora - Fish, about which I wrote here.

Paarl - Wikipedia
Paarl Wine Estates -
KWV, Paarl, South Africa - Southern Hemisphere Wine Center
KWV - Official website
Early Farmsteads of the Cape Winelands - UNESCO official website

Sender: Retha Faurie (direct swap)
Sent from Welkom (Free State / South Africa), on 25.02.2016
Photo: KWV

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