Renovations and upgrading of the Campanile, one of Port Elizabeth’s most visible skyline and audible heritage landmarks has been completed ahead of Heritage Month.
The newly upgraded Campanile was unveiled by Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor Athol Trollip during a media launch held on Tuesday.
World class heritage tourism destination
Andrew Whitfield, Economic Development, Agriculture and Tourism Mayoral Committee Member, said the Campanile is a “universal asset that will benefit tourism industry and thus support the tourism economy value chain.”
Some of the new features of the Campanile include an interactive visual-technology array dubbed ‘Ghost Bells’ – bell proxies installed under the actual bell carillon which visually light up during chiming. It also lights up when visitors press keys of an interactive silver console to match the pitch of a key with the corresponding bell.
Another addition includes the harbour- viewing window - an observation deck capsule at the top of the 50m Campanile memorial, suspending visitors in the sky when they overlook the Port Elizabeth harbour.
Campanile bell to play any melody
A special computerised, purpose-built, electro-mechanical bell ringing system has also been installed for the Campanile’s 17 ton bell carillon that was removed, restored and reinstalled by the MBDA over the last year to ensure that the crispness of each bell was pitch perfect. The Campanile bell can now play any melody which gets programmed into its state-of-the-art digital interface.
A new reception area that will act as an information desk and several exhibition areas within the Campanile for the city’s creative communities has been developed.
Start of Route 67
The Campanile offers a welcoming start to the city’s iconic Route 67 – a public art urban meander dedicated to Nelson Mandela. A silver plaque now features on the 67th step of the 204 steps spiralling staircase acknowledging Nelson Mandela’s 67 years in service of democracy. -HEILIE COMBRINCK