Kigali is situated in the centre of Rwanda on the Ruganawa River. Before the civil war in 1994 it was a small but beautiful city. Much of it was subsequently destroyed, but restoration has been undertaken in recent years.
The city began its modern existence after 1895 as a trade post under German colonial rule. It emerged as the regional centre under the Belgian administration of 1919–62. Having gained independence from Belgium, it became capital of Rwanda in 1962.
Kigali is spread over four hills. The industrial heartland is located in the southeast, and the city’s exports include footwear, paint, varnish and tanned goods. It also has a number of radio-assembly warehouses. One of Rwanda’s primary exports is tin, and many of the mining operations have their headquarters in Kigali. Kigali is connected by a number of roads, and the most reliable means of transport both to and from the city is by minibus. These can be boarded at the Gare Routière. The buses run to a variety of destinations within Rwanda including Butare, Gitarama, Kibuye, Rusumo, Gatuna, Gisenyi and Ruhengeri. In Kanombe, about 12 km from the city centre, there is an international airport.
Places of Interest
There is a Muslim quarter near the city centre.