Bujumbura is Burundis capital, administrative, communications, and economic center. With an estimated population of 300,000 in 1994, the city lies at the northeastern corner of Lake Tanganyika at 3°22'34" South, 29°21'36" East.
Manufactures include food processors, cement and other building materials, textiles, soap, shoes, and metal goods. Livestock and agricultural produce from the surrounding region are traded in the city. Bujumbura is Burundi's main port and ships most of the country's chief export, coffee, as well as cotton, skins, and tin ore, via Lake Tanganyika to Tanzania and Congo (Kinshasa). Ferries sail from Bujumbura to Kigoma in Tanzania.
The city grew from a small village after it became a military post in German East Africa in 1889. After the First World War, Bujumbura was made the administrative center of the Belgian League of Nations mandate of Ruanda-Urundi.
In 1962, when Burundi became independent, the city's name was changed from Usumbura to Bujumbura. Since independence, it has been the scene of frequent fighting between the country's two main ethnic groups, with the Hutus and Tutsis.
Bujumbura boasts of a large market, national stadium, large mosque, an international airport and a cathedral. Museums in the city include the Burundi Museum of Life and the Burundi Geological Museum.
Other nearby attractions include the Rusizi National Park, and the source of the southernmost tributary of the Nile, described locally as the source of the Nile.
By Purity Njeru
Ms. Njeru is an African Executive staff writer
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