The Owl House, South Africa

The Owl House, South Africa © Andy Carter

A blue-eyed figure stands, palms outstretched, on the back of a four-legged owl creature. Hundreds of fantastical beings, animals and biblical figures seem strangely alive in the confined yard space, although they’re cast in concrete.

The Owl House is a museum in the Karoo town of Nieu-Bethesda, and once home to artist Helen Martins. The interior is designed to reflect light at different hours, with mirrors and wall patterns of crushed glass. The exterior Camel Yard is made up of the unusual sculptures and relief figures, including many owl statuettes.

Martins began to work on the Owl House in 1945, and pursued her vision until she committed suicide in 1976. In 1989, the Owl House was declared a national monument, and is now a famously peculiar tourist attraction.

Written by

Readers who enjoyed
this article also liked:

  • Oasis outdoor pool, London

    Hidden within a council estate in Covent Garden, this open air pool is heated all year round and steams with warmth during the winter.

  • Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival, England

    Dress up as a straw bear and dance for the locals, who might give you some food or drink out of sympathy.

  • The Erawan Museum, Thailand

    Towering above the treetops in Bangkok’s suburbs, the 17-storey three-headed elephant is enough to make any passer-by feel like part of a Steven King adaptation.

Discuss

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close