It is hard to look at a beautiful country without thinking on the events that have happened there. Rwanda is a perfect example of how a civil war can destroy a society, leaving bloody mark on the history. An African country located in the heart of the continent, borders the countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.
With a population of approximately 11.4 million, the Rwanda is a green landscape of hills, gardens and tea plantations. Steep mountains and deep valleys cover most of the territory, combined with savanna in the east and numerous lakes. The climate is temperate, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons every year.
National economy suffered heavily during the 1990s genocide, but has regained its strength during the last decade. The economy is based mostly on agriculture, production of coffee and tea being the major international exports. Tourism is a growing sector since the Capital city of Kigali is an ideal location for travel within the region for tourists. A visit to the capital can easily be expanded to include many of the great nearby African destinations.
The most popular tourist activity is the tracking of mountain gorillas. Rwanda has great biodiversity, which can be seen in wildlife. It is a home to one third of the world remaining Mountain Gorillas, one third of Africa's bird species and several species of rare primates. Also popular are journey excursions through volcanoes, game reserve and resorts and islands on the impressive Lake Kivu. The Kivu Lake with an altitude of 1,472 m is the highest lake in Africa, while the volcano Karisimbi is Rwanda's highest point at 4,324 m.
Graceful dancers, artistic crafts and friendly people are an integral part of Rwandan culture. Music and dance with drums bring the spark of life in the highly choreographed Intore. Traditional arts and crafts are produced all over the Rwanda, including a unique African cow dung art.
History of the conflict
Rwanda has a rich cultural history beginning in ancient times. Archaeological excavations have revealed evidence of sparse settlement by hunter gatherers in the late Stone Age in Rwanda. A larger population of early Iron Age settlers produced dimpled pottery and iron tools. The early inhabitants were the ancestors of the Twa, a Pygmy people who now make up only 1% of the population.
While the Hutu and Tutsi are often considered to be two different ethnic groups, they speak the same language, have a history of intermarriage and share numerous cultural characteristics. The differences between the two groups were traditionally occupational rather than ethnic. Hutu were short and square agricultural people, while Tutsi were tall and thin cattle-owning elite.
Although the Hutu account for 90 percent of the population, in the past, the Tutsi minority was considered the aristocracy of Rwanda. For more than 600 years the two groups shared the business of farming, essential for survival, between them. They also inhabited the same areas and have followed the same traditions for centuries until the class warfare began the push the Rwandan society into chaos.