Bloemfontein is the seat of the Supreme Court of Appeal, making the city the judicial capital of South Africa. It is one of the country's three "capitals", along with Pretoria and Cape Town. The city enjoyed a position of power even before the creation of South Africa. Various changes to colonial policy meant that Bloemfontein was well placed to become the capital of the newly-created Orange Free State in 1854.
From this time, the area quickly developed, and many grand public buildings were built - most of which are still in use today. Bloemfontein is also known as the 'City of Roses' due to the profusion of roses found in the city. The city is highly regarded for this amongst botanists, as Bloemfontein is unusual for hosting an abundance of flowers in an otherwise arid region.