Thanks so much to WordPress.com for including this post on its “Freshly Pressed” page this week! New readers: please also click here to see some newer posts.
Yesterday, we visited the Rukali Palace Museum in the town of Nyanza, a couple of hours south of Kigali.
The museum grounds hold a reconstruction of the palace of Mwami (King) Musinga Yuhi V (a few miles from its original location), as well as the actual Western-style palace built for his successor, Mwami Rudahigwa Mutara III, in 1932.
Musinga lived in a palace like this from 1899 until his death in 1931.
Traditional building and weaving techniques were used to make the structures of grass, reed, and bamboo. The work is very fine.
A cow pen is part of the reconstruction. Cows were very important in Rwandan royal culture, and each of the king’s cows had a personal poem that was chanted or sung to call it out. They might also be decorated like this one.
The modern palace (used from 1932 to 1959) is decorated inside and out in geometric motifs. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside.
The courtyard garden is planted in hedges laid out in patterns like those traditionally used in baskets, mats, and room partitions.
More about traditional Rwandan homes here.