Ancient societies believed that blacksmiths had links with earth spirits since the raw materials they work with (iron ore) comes from the earth.
In some African cultures blacksmiths are in charge of funeral rites. They carry the body through the village in a grand procession. They wear huge frightening masks that scare away the dead person’s soul. The blacksmiths dig the graves, place the body in it and leave an offering of food. Thereafter they will hold a feast. They are the bridge between the living and the dead.
The old Forge, or blacksmith, now renamed Alte Schmiede in Graaff Reinet was built around the 1820’s and is one of the oldest houses in Graaff Reinet that survived for almost 200 years in the beautiful historical town in the great Karoo. It has been lovingly restored and furnished with period pieces and artefacts by Karen and Oleg. The oldest section was turned into 2 very unique suites: Anvil Suite and Hammer Suite. Both have self catering facilities with a separate kitchenette and dining area adjacent to a luxurious bedroom and bathroom with shower.In the court yard is a unique barbeque ( braai) area that can be used by our guests.
The Old Forge was built in the 1820’s. It was positioned on Rothmann Str, the main road leading out of town. Cradock Street was positioned at the lower end of the property more towards the river.
The road was wide enough for oxen wagons to turn. The oldest section is what was turned into the Anvil and Hammer suites respectively. The Victorian building that was added many years later was extensively renovated as well and turned into the owners private home. Eventually when the Nqweba Dam was built above Graaff Reinet in 1925, Rothmans Street became a quiet residential street as the main road leaving Graaff Reinet to Middleburg and Cradock was moved to the north eastern side of town.
The Old Jail
The Old Jail in Willowmore is the 1st project the owners of Alte Schmiede started in 2010. It took Karen and Oleg 2 years to restore and decorate this magnificent Victorian building turning it into one of the most beautiful historical guest houses in the Eastern Cape.
Click here to see more or to book at The Old Jail