Rwanda has a rich culture evidenced in the diversity of fine crafts,cultural sites and strong traditions. These include music and dance, historical remains and a variety of arts and crafts. Sought after crafts include pottery, basketry, painting, jewelry, wood carving and metalwork.
Rwanda has a number of Memorial sites and Museums preserved around the country. A number of Community Based Tourism experiences offer travelers the opportunity to experience cultural life of Rwandans
The museum of Rwanda Ancient History
This museum was once the residence of King Mutara Rudahingwa and sits at Rukari near the royal palace. The palace has been restored and it offers a back ground of Rwandan life as it was in the past days. At the neighbouring hill of Mwima, king Mutara as well as his wife were buried. At the museum, there is a traditional house, and a thatched hut which is an imitation of the king ‘palace. The palace differed from the other home steads and his house had three separate poles on which the roof rests.
Later, when the Belgian colonial masters came to Rwanda, they changed all these traditional life styles of the kings and constructed the king a new house which is now the museum that displays Rwanda’s history from the 15th century. Both the museum of Rwanda history and Rwesero Arts museum are located 2km outside Nyanza town in the southern province. The other important aspects of Rwanda’s culture is the cow and milk that symbolise the culture of Rwanda people.
The Royal residence of King Mutara 111 Rudahigwa
The residence was built by Belgium in 1931, the colonial style home served as the royal palace of King Mutara until he died. Unfortunately, all the gifts as well as furniture that he received from the visiting dignitaries were stolen during the genocide of 1994. This home is still interesting with its peculiarities which include; three sitting rooms which was for receiving the visitors. Mutara was also the first Mwami to convert to Catholicism and was so liked by the Belgians that once thanked Jesus Christ to having given Rwanda the divine light of Belgian colonial administration its science of good government.
It’s based in Nyanza, which is 88km south of Kigali city, it offers a detailed look into Rwandan Traditional seat of their monarchy, and this is also an impressive museum which was restored in the 19th century and made entirely with its traditional materials. The long horned cows which are known as Inyambo were recently introduced because they an integral part of Rwandan culture. On the nearby hill of Mwima, you can as well visit the burial grounds of King Mutara 111 and his wife Queen Rosalie Gicanda.
The Genocide sites
A genocide took place in Rwanda in 1994 in which over 100,000 people were killed, the government of Rwanda and Rwanda tourism board established several genocide sites in different parts of the country. Most of the genocide sites are places were bodies of genocide victims were buried in transparent graves for viewing by travelers. These memorial genocide sites include Kigali genocide memorial center, Murambi genocide site, Gisozi memorial site, Gisenyi memorial site, Nyamata memorial site, Bisesero memorial site, Ntarama memorial site, Nyarubuye memorial site and Nyanza memorial site. On reaching any site, travelers are given details about the genocide and how Rwanda has recovered from the past history. Also, there are videos that clearly show and tell how everything happened.
Bugesera reconciliation village
Located a few kilometers from Kigali city, Bugesera reconciliation village is a place you should visit. As its name says, Bugesera reconciliation village is a community for reconciled families. People who stay here are the victims of 1994 genocide, which left them homeless after losing everything they had. The village was setup by the government to bring these people together and enable them to start a second happy life. Those who had become enemies have been reconciled and are leaving together in harmony. A visit to Bugesera reconciliation village is an opportunity for travelers to listen to the touching stories of these people, which make them appreciate how far Rwanda has become in bringing its people together transforming the country into the most hospitable nation with loving and caring people to interact with.
The elite Intore dance
The elite Intore dance warriors of ancient armies of Burundi and Rwanda were a particular kind of warrior group to have lived throughout ancient Africa. They have not always been known as Intore dancers but rather the warriors of Unwami who received royal treatment and privileges. Intore means warrior and Umwami, king in Burundi.
In ancient Burundi and Rwanda, different types of armies existed for various reasons. While some existed to protect the borders of the land, others were trained to protect the Royal family during Kingdom tours or visits to other kingdoms.
The Intore dancers were an army trained to go to war and defend the king against internal attacks. These warriors were selected at a very early age and taken into the royal court to receive training. Families often prayed for the blessing of many boys so that one of them could be chosen as a warrior of the king. The selection brought prestige and honour to the family.
The selected warriors were taken through their manhood passage rites and confined in the palace court to receive their training. After the initiation, the warriors receive special education from the royal court by taking special lessons from the king himself.