The National Museum of Rwanda at Butare
|Admin. division||Southern Province|
|Population (August 2002)|
Butare (Kinyarwanda: [butɑ́ɾe]) is a city (population: 77,000 as of August 2002) in the Southern Province of Rwanda and capital of Huye district. It was the capital of the former Butare Province, Rwanda, that was dissolved on January 1, 2006. It was the formal colonial capital of Rwanda.
Butare has the National University of Rwanda, North Gate University of Rwanda. It also held the prestigious Nyakibanda Seminary, the Rwandan National Institute of Scientific Research, the Ruhande Arboretum and a cathedral. It is also home to the Stade Huye (Butare Stadium). Due to the large number of university students and student-centered activities in the city, Butare is often regarded as a university city.
The city of Butare has long been regarded as the intellectual capital of the country, while Kigali holds most political power. The Belgian colonial rulers named the city Astrida, in honor of Queen Astrid of Belgium, and the name was changed after Rwanda became a republic in 1962. The first Catholic mission in 1900 in the country was only a few kilometers from the town center, at Save Hill.
The National Museum of Rwanda was built in the early 1990s and is a good source of information on the cultural history of the country and the region. It is often referred to in tourist brochures as the finest museum in East Africa.
From 2006, some sources refer to the city as Huye, after the surrounding district, but most Rwandans continue to use the name Butare.