Butare

Overview

Introduction

This compact town near the Burundi border was the administrative capital of Rwanda in the colonial era, although it was renamed Astrida in 1935 following the death of the young Belgian Queen Astrid in a car accident. It reverted to the name Butare after independence and was officially renamed Huye in 2006, though this name has yet to come into wide usage.

Located 90 mi/150 km south of Kigali, it remains the site of the country's most important university and its most impressive cathedral. The city is also something of a repository for art deco and other colonial-era architectural styles. Huye's premier attraction is the superb National Museum of Rwanda, which opened in 1988 and contains several fascinating displays of photographic collections relating to the precolonial era. A worthwhile excursion is to the former royal capital of Nyanza, which lies on a hilltop reached via a 45-minute drive north of the city center.

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