Pietermaritzburg is the Capital and second-largest City in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was founded in 1838 and named after two leaders of the Voortrekkers Pieter Retief and Gert Maritz, who had arrived here in 1837. The Village was later taken over and made into a British military garrison as a defence in case of attacks. Many German and British immigrants settled here over the Years as the Town flourished, quaint Victorian and Edwardian Buildings and features remain today. Theses strong Victorian roots are evident in the well preserved architectural style of the buildings and general ambiance. It is now a City and the Administrative Capital of the KwaZulu-Natal Province. It is currently governed by the; Msunduzi Local Municipality. Its Zulu name: 'uMgungundlovu', is the name used for the District Municipality. Pietermaritzburg is popularly called: 'Maritzburg', in Afrikaans, English and Zulu alike, and often informally abbreviated to PMB. It is a Regionally important Industrial hub, producing: Aluminium, Timber and Dairy products, as well as the main Economic hub, of Umgungundlovu District Municipality. The public sector is a major employer in the City due to local, District and Provincial Governments located here.
The City has many Schools and Tertiary Education Institutions, including a campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
It had a population of 228,549 in 1991; the current population now is estimated at over 600,000 residents. Pietermaritzburg is an emerging Metropolitan Area.
A City rich in History and heritage, Pietermaritzburg has a number of Museums, Galleries and Monuments of interest, Historical Buildings include: The City Hall, Macrorie House, Natal Museum, Old Colonial Building, Old Government House and Voortrekker House. The historic Railway Station became famous when Mahatma Ghandi was evicted from a train here in 1893, an event that set him on his Political path!
The newest Museum here is; Comrades Marathon House, the headquarters for an epic yearly road race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban which takes place at the end of May. The direction of the run alternates each year, one year downhill and the next uphill; its a grueling 90km (56 miles) and one of the toughest races in the world. Another interesting sport event that occurs here every year is the; 'Dusi Canoe Marathon', on the Umsindusi River which takes place over a strenuous 3 day course.
Church Street, has been converted into a pedestrian walkway and mall, a pleasant place to shop, browse and relax, there is also an interesting African Arts and Crafts centre with contemporary and traditional hand made works on display including rugs, batiks, jewellery, sculpture and collectors items.
There are a number of Parks, Gardens and Reserves around this City including the lovely Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens and across from the City Hall, the Garden of Remembrance - for the fallen in two world wars and the Weeping Cross of Delville Wood.