Things to do in Rwanda

Visit of Butare (Huye) and its Museums

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Butare is close to the Burundi border in the south east of Rwanda. It is a small town with a relaxed atmosphere, best known as the educational centre of the country, having been the location for the first ever secondary school in 1928 and, since 1963, has been the site of Rwanda's national university. Butare is mostly known for its historical museums including the national museum of Rwanda and King's Palace museum.


During colonial times Butare was the administrative centre for the region which served the joint territory of Ruanda-Urundi with only Bujumbura being a larger town. In 1962 it reverted to it's original name of Butare having been known as Astrida from 1935 after the Swedish wife of Belgium's King Leopold III. It was thought at the time of independence that Butare would become the capital of Rwanda, but as Kigali with its more central location in the country took on that role, Butare has remained a sleepy feeling small town, though it has the greatest number of students in the country, having the national university and other training schools and colleges here.


For the visitor, Butare is a great place to stop on the way south to Nyungwe Forest and there are some small but nice hotels and local guest houses . The National Museum is well worth spending a few hours visiting with a truly fascinating range of displays about the history and geography of the country and its people. It opened in 1988 and was a gift from Belgium's King Baudouin I. Sitting on 20 hectares of land they often have Intore dancing displays in the grounds. There is a traditional craft training centre and gardens containing indigenous plants.

 

Intore dancers

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altThere is nothing more exciting than watching intore dancers perfoming. Intore dancers perfomance is what makes  culture tours in Rwanda exceptionnal.
Intore have gained a worldwide status of fame and have become an indispensable part of the Rwandan culture and tradition. The Intore dancers gained popularity in the year 1958 during the World Expo which was held in Brussels. This form of traditional Rwanda ballet is one of the ancient forms of dancing in Africa. The Intore dancing is also known as "warrior dancing".The Intore people, who were once regarded as part of the traditional Rwanda army, were not only given military training but also taught the technique of high jumps and dancing.

They were known for their outstanding method of jumping with the help of which they could rise up to 2-40 meters from the ground.There are three main parts of the Rwandan ballet which comprise of Ingoma, Intore dancers and the songs. During the performance, Intore dancers, especially men wear grass wigs and have spears in their hands. They wear little bells on each foot which gives a rhythm to the entire background music.

The theme of the performance is the celebration of victory in a battle which is depicted through the medium of dancing. The Intore dancers move sideways combining difficult choreography and grace with a raw aggressiveness in their expressions.

 

Arts and crafts shopping in Rwanda

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altA diversity of traditional handicrafts is produced in rural areas of Rwanda ranging from basketry, traditional wood carvings to paintings and ceramics. The Best 3 areas being an artisan cooperative in Kanama, a town just 15 minutes outside Gisenyi on Ruhengeri-Gisenyi road, Cow-dung paintings made in villages of Nyakarimbi near Rusumo Falls and the handicraft shop at the national museum in Nyanza, Huye District.
These handicrafts,paintings and well-designed nesting baskests (called uduseke)can be bought in gifts shops in Kigali, the country's capital. Price compare before you buy. There are sharp differences in prices between stores! The best-priced shop for handicrafts is underneath the Librarie Caritas, near the BCDI bank (the tallest building in town).Advertise Here The Caplaki artisan cooperative in the valley next to Kiyovu can be more expensive.
Rwanda has had a rich cultural heritage for the past few centuries. Rwanda performing arts play an important part in maintaining the cultural tradition of Rwanda. Dance and music have always been an important form of expression of the Rwandan people. Both instrumental and vocal music, as popular Rwandan performing arts, has gained an eminent position for itself in the past decades.
 
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