Historical and Cultural Sites, Genocide museums
Rwanda comprises of three tribes namely, the Hutu, Tutsi and the Twa. The former colonial power, Germany, lost possession of Rwanda during the First World War and the territory was then placed under Belgian administration. The History of Rwanda is so long but full of unrest accompanied by blood shade – remember the recent 1994 civil war which culminated into Genocide.
Genocide Memorial Museums - It is true to urge that some of the present Genocide memorial sites/ museum are as a result of blood shade evidenced by the thousands of skeletons laid to rest in the museum. The assassination of Habyarimana was the catalyst for the eruption of the 1994 genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed. The Tutsi RPF conquered Rwanda, and there was counter-genocide of Hutus by Tutsis. Millions of Hutu fled as refugees, contributing to large refugee camps of Hutu in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, where there were already refugees from other countries. At the end of the war, a number of Genocide memorial centres cropped up and among they includes the Gisozi Genocide memorial museum which is situated in the heart of Kigali city – it is easily accessed and the most visited. Other Genocide memorial museums include the Nyamata, Mulambi, Bisesero, Ntarama, Kigali memorial centre and Nyarbuye. Click here for details.
Ibyiwacu cultural village – this is one of the major cultural sites in Rwanda. It is situated in northern Rwanda near Volcanoes National Park. The centre exhibits Rwanda culture through Art and crafts, traditional clothes, cultural demonstrations, hunting attires among others. At the site, visitors are taught Rwandan skills of dressing, Skills in Art and crafts, singing among others.
Ibyiwacu cultural center was set to enable local communities also have a share from tourism Cake – to enable locals people earn a living and stop them from poaching. Therefore, the presence of Ibyiwacu cultural center has not only led to the development of local communities but has also played a bigger role in the preservation of wildlife including Mountain Gorillas, Golden Monkeys, birds and many more.
The presidential Palace Museum – it is situated in Kanombe in Kigali city – about 2 kms from Kigali International Airport. The Palace served as home to Juvenal Habyarimana and Pasteur Bizimungu during the 1970s up to the late 1990s. The Presidential Palace Museum is one of the new museums in Kigali. It gives visitors a chance to visit the former state house as well as gain an overview of Rwanda’s history, one can also visit some of the flight debris of the FALCON 50 presidential plane that went down on 6th April 1994.
King’s palace Museum – It is situated in Rukari in Nyanza province 88km from Kigali city. It was the residence of King Mutara III Rudahigwa and the Royal Palace that was traditionally built. The Museum brings out an excellent picture of Rwanda traditional monarchy – the site was restored in 19th century and the recently Long Horned cows called “Inyambo” were introduced to the King’s palace because they are part of Rwanda couture. On the neighboring hill of Mwima, one can also visit the burial grounds of King Mutara III and his wife Queen Rosalie Gicanda.
The museum of Natural History – It is also known as the ‘Kandt House’. It is situated 10 kms from Kigali International Airport. The museum named after Dr, Richard Kandt, a German explore and a docter to appreciate his work of initiating the setting of the museum. The Natural History Museum aims at explaining the richness of Rwanda's Nature. The idea being that it is only through the knowledge of the nature we live in that our behavior and understanding will change. This museum showcases many specimens and replica of the natural wonders of the country.
The environmental museum- it is situated in Karongi – it is the only and the first of this kind in Africa. It is focusing on environmental preservation. The first emphasis was put on energy produced in Rwanda and in the rest of the world, and the role Energy plays in an ever-changing environment.
Rwanda National Museum – This is most known and a major ethnographic and archaeological collections in East Africa with more than 10,000 artefacts. It is located in Huye and was inaugurated on September 18th 1989.
Rwesero Arts Museum – situated on Rwesero hill in Nyanza province. It was built as a palace for King Mutara III Rudahigwa, but he never had time to move in it he died before occupying it and was converted into an art Museum. It is located at the top of the Rwesero hill in the city of Nyanza. The Art Museum is linked to the Olympic Academy, the Cultural Center, the Sport Museum, and the stadiums of diverse sports.
Museum of Rwandan Ancient History – the museum presents Art work- justifying the creativity of Rwandans. It is situated 2Kms from Nyanza Town.
The Ethnographic Museum- it is situated in Huye region – approximately 132 Kms south of Kigali- Rwanda’s Capital city. This Museum was built in 1987 and now houses one of Africa's finest ethnographic collections. Its seven galleries display historical, ethnographic, artistic and archaeological artifacts accompanied by visual aides, giving visitors a rich insight into the culture of Rwandans.