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Parys

Trip Planner Africa  /  South Africa  /  Free State  /  Parys
Parys is a town situated on the banks of the Vaal River in the Free State province of South Africa. The name of the town is the Afrikaans translation of Paris. The name was given by a German surveyor named Schilbach who had participated in the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War and the location next to the Vaal reminded him of Paris on the River Seine. The area of Parys also includes the two townships Tumahole and Schonkenville.HistoryIn the early 1870s, towns in the northern Free State were situated very far apart and members of different churches had to travel great distances to participate in religious services. It was then decided by the Ring of the Dutch Reformed Church to implant the idea of a congregation north of the Rhenoster River into the minds of the residents of the farm Klipspruit, on the Vaal River, which was owned by four van Coller brothers. After long deliberation by the brothers, the first erven were laid out in 1876, and the little town of Parys was born.The first few years of existence did not bring much development to the town, but the fact that it was situated en route to Johannesburg from the south, meant that the gold rush of 1886 on the Witwatersrand brought prosperity and wealth to Parys as it was used as a stopover and later as trading post. The outbreak of the Anglo-Boer war in 1899 brought the bustling town to a standstill as many 'burgers' had to leave the town to fight in the war. The town and surrounding area was the scene of much guerrilla warfare because, surrounded as it is by hills and the river being full of woody islands, it was an ideal place for snipers. General de Wet ensured that good use was made of the natural advantages provided. Some remains of forts are still visible today in the hills around the town.
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