Brazzaville Profile

The explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza founded the capital of what is now known as the Republic of the Congo in 1880 on the site of the existing village of Nukuna and named it Brazzaville. It was later to become the capital of French Equatorial Africa in 1908 with comprised Middle Congo (Congo Brazzaville) along with Gabon, Chad and what is now known as the Central African Republic.

Today around a third of the entire population of the country lives in Brazzaville, over a million people, but it remains dwarfed by the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa, which lies directly across the Congo River with its population of some ten million.

The two cities are the two closest capitals on Earth by distance and are connected by ferry. This area of the River Congo is known as the Pool Region reflecting the Congo at its widest, whilst Brazzaville itself on its landed sides is surrounded by savannah.

Before the civil war of 1997, Brazzaville was a well developed city however today it has a somewhat run down appearance although their is some recent new construction work. Despite this, Brazzaville is considered extremely expensive with goods often costing four times as much as in other countries. In a recent quality of living survey, Brazzaville came in at 209 out of 215 cities just ahead of N'Djamena in Chad and Bangui in the Central African Republic. The centre of Brazzaville is the administrative and commercial centre of the country, not least because of its river and port connections. The city is also home to the regional headquarters of the World Health Organization, national university, a Roman Catholic cathedral and the Poto-Poto School of African Art.

If visiting Brazzaville places worth seeing include the Musee National du Congo with its collection of art and historical indigenous artefacts; the Basilica of Sainte-Anne which was constructed during the Second World war and, ironically, damaged during the civil war of 1997 however has now been largely restored. You can also take in People's Palace built in 1901 and restored in 1982 after the war which, today, still serves as the presidential palace. If you are really short of things to do check out Brazzaville Zoo, which for many years after the war was renowned for not actually having an animals, although, today it is home to a motley collection of primates.

This short video about Brazzaville shows slum areas of the city and some of the people who live there. You can explore Brazzaville in more detail using our interactive map below.


Congo Brazzaville LOcation: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Brazzaville Profile

Brazzaville Profile

Brazzaville Profile

Brazzaville Profile


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