Kigali, Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda

According to abbreviationfinder, Kigali is the capital of Rwanda and is a city of rugged relief located in the center of the country in a hilly area. It was founded in 1907, in times of German rule. The city is located on the banks of the Nyabarongo River. Almost a third of Kigali residents lost their lives in the wave of violence that broke out in 1994, following the civil war. The population in 2005 was 851,024 residents.

History

Although the history of human settlements in the Kigali area dates back to the 15th century, the creation of the modern city of Kigali obeyed the commercial interests of the German settlers. Between 1899 and 1916 the German East AfricaCompany was established here, which motivated its economic development. After the First World War, the Rwandan territory passed into Belgian hands, which favored mining in the vicinity of Kigali for practically the entire 1930s. The country achieved independence in 1962 and then Kigali became its capital. Since then there has been a more or less continuous confrontation between the two major ethnic groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis, culminating in a brutal civil war in which practically the entire city was devastated.

Geography

The capital of Rwanda is located in an area of plateaus that, with an average altitude of 1500 meters above sea level, descends towards the east of the country. This area is watered by various rivers, including the Nyabarongo, the closest to the capital.

Location

Kigali is located in central Rwanda, on a plateau located more than 1,800 meters above sea level. The city is located on the banks of the Nyabarongo River.

Climate

The Rwandan climate is mild in temperature, despite being close to the equator. The precipitations are abundant and in the zone of the capital oscillate around the 1,000 annual mm; the rains are distributed in two humid seasons separated by other two dry ones of short duration.

Natural environment

Towards the northwest of Kigali extends a chain of volcanoes with peaks that exceed 4,000 meters in altitude, forming the Volcanoes Natural Park, one of the few habitats in which the mountain gorilla still survives.

Population

Rwanda’s population is sharply divided into two ethnic groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis. The segregation between one and the other has been increasing and this social tension has determined the economic and political evolution of the capital. Almost a third of Kigali residents lost their lives in the wave of violence that broke out in 1994, following the civil war. Currently around 800,000 people live in Kigali. See population of Rwanda.

Economic development

The main economic activity is agriculture, to which almost 40% of the Rwandan soil is dedicated, input into subsistence crops such as sorghum, cassava, sweet potatoes and bananas. During the peace period that followed the civil war, 90% of exports were focused on tea and coffee, but conflicts have severely limited foreign investment. The small industries that are articulated around the capital respond to the processing of textiles, tanning and coffee.

Sightseeing

Places of interest

The main attractions are the Artisan Market, the Episcopal Church, the French Cultural Center, the National Museum and the Kigali Memorial Center. Among the important buildings are the airport building and the Chinese embassy. For the convenience of the visitor, the city has several hotels, some of them luxury, and with restaurants and gastronomic places through which the traveler can discover the charms of African cuisine.

Those interested in the history of this area, meanwhile, can get close to the Kigali Memorial Center, a space opened in April of 2004 that aims to remember the victims of the genocide that took place in 1994, year in which Fighting broke out between the government army and the Rwandan Patriotic Front militias and thousands of Hutus and Tutsis were killed.

The center offers three permanent exhibitions (Burial Chambers, Windows of Hope and Memorial Sculpture), a section dedicated to honoring the memory of the hundreds of children who lost their lives violently and a space reserved to remember other cases of social violence at the level world. An educational center, a memory garden and a National Genocide Documentation Center complete the offer of this place created to keep the collective memory alive and educate future generations about it.

Culture

Kigali has places of cultural interest, such as the Artisan Market (where you can see some typical products of the nation), the French Cultural Center, where exhibitions, film series, documentaries, among other cultural activities are usually organized. There are also religious centers such as the Episcopal Church.

Crafts

In Kigali you can find typical Rwandan handicrafts: wood carvings and basketry.

Gastronomy

In the Rwandan cuisine ingredients predominate as the potato or cassava and meat of cow. It is essential to drink only bottled water and not eat fruits or ingest juices.

Holidays and traditions

The national holiday is celebrated on July 1, Independence Day; there are also some Christian religious festivals with great popularity, such as Holy Week.

Transportation

Not many planes get to Rwanda, the only international airport is Gregorie Kayibanda, 12 kilometers from Kigali. There is no rail, the best way to get around is by road. Within Kigali the traveler can only get around on foot or by taxi

Illustrious people

In 1994 Paul Rusesabagina, manager of a luxury hotel in Kigali, saved the lives of numerous Tutsis by hiding them in the establishment where he worked from the Hutu militias. A movie about his story has recently been released.

Kigali, Rwanda