BRAZZAVILLE – THE YOUNGER BROTHER
Brazzaville became the capital shortly after its foundation and retained its status even after Congo gained independence.
This did not affect residents’ living standards. In a Mercer survey conducted by Mercer in 2009, Brazzaville ranks 212 of the 215 studied cities (it was just before Ndjamena, Bangui and Baghdad).
Poto-Poto is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. It was founded by the French at the beginning of the 20th century. The neighborhood is located northeast of the modern central area, and was originally reserved only for the white inhabitants.
However, it soon became a multi-ethnic neighborhood inhabited by workers from the northern regions of the Congo and other French colonies in Africa, including Chad, the Counter-Far East, and Cameroon.
The names of the streets in the neighborhood, such as Rue Dahomey and Rue Yaounde, refer to the places of origin of the inhabitants.
The name Poto-Poto means „mud” in the Bambara language and refers to the local wetlands flooded by the river, when the water level is high.
French Name: Brazzaville
Population: about 1,253,000 inhabitants
The Nabemba Tower (also known as the Elf Tower) is a 106-meter office building with 30 floors. It is named after Mont Nabemba, the highest peak of the country (1,020 meters).
It was designed by Jean Marie Legrand and built between 1983 and 1986.Contains offices of international organizations and government institutions. The building has the form of a vertical vertical pipe on a four-sided base.
A cross-section of cloud scraper reveals three concentric circles: the interior is occupied by lifts, the middle one is a corridor, and the outer one is occupied by offices with mobile partitions.
The building has air conditioning and its own power generator, which means it does not depend on the city’s insecure electrical network.
Did you know?
The Brazzaville Group is an organization that was created in 1960 by twelve African nations – former French colonies with right-wing governments.
The group competed with the Casablanca bloc for influence on the continent before the establishment of the African Union Organization in 1963.
THE CONTROVERSIAL MAUSOLEUM
After his death, Brazza’s body crossed the same places the explorer visited during his life. Originally buried in Paris, his family moved his remains to Alger.
Then, in 2006, his body was exhumed and transported to Brazzaville, along with the remains of his wife and four children. The house of the family is in a Mausoleum.
The ceremony was attended by African country leaders and the French Foreign Affairs Minister. Many of the country’s citizens opposed the commemoration of the colonizer, claiming that the money spent on building the mausoleum could have served a better cause.
THE RAILROAD HAS DIED
Chemin De Ferro-Ocean is a 500 km long railway line between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, on the Atlantic coast.
The line was built to bypass the Congo waterfalls, which prevented navigation down the river. It was built between 1921 and 1934 by the convicts of forced labor in the French colonies.
17,000 workers died due to hard work conditions. The line is still open even though it has been seriously devastated during the civil war of the late 20th century.
In the summer of 2010 a train derailed on a mountainous section of the line and fell into a cliff. 76 people died in the accident.
A MEETING WITH DE GAULLE
During World War II, the French Free Forces (French Exile Government), represented by Charles De Gaulle and representatives of the French colonies in Africa, grew up in Brazzaville.
Their purpose of reforming mutual relations; The Declaration of Brazzaville, which states that the French Empire will remain intact, was signed, while the colonies were to gain the autonomy and their citizens the same rights as the French citizens.
Brazzaville is the main economic, educational and cultural center of the country.
The industry includes food processing (oil factories, beer, fish processing plants), forestry, paper, footwear, textiles, chemicals (soap production), metal processing and household appliances assembly.
There is also a hydroelectric plant. The city is a hub for river and road transport.
From here the ships leave the Congo and its tributaries. There are also ferry connections to Kinshasa.
Brazzaville has a sub-humid climate.
The rainy season lasts from October to May, the rest of the year being the dry season.
Most rainfall is recorded in November (292 mm), and in July and August it does not rain at all, these being the winter months.
Temperatures remain constant throughout the year: 17-21 ° C at night and 28-32 ° C day. 37 ° C and 12 ° C are the highest and lowest temperature ever recorded
THE HUMAN CONQUEROR
The city is named after Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza (1852-1905) Italian explorer and French citizen. Young, he dreamed of visiting remote places and entered the naval academy in Brest.
In one of the first trips to Algeria between 1875-1878, Brazza explored the Ogoue River Basin, which is now in Gabon. In the next expedition, commanded by the French government (1879-1882), he arrived on the Congo River and convinced the native king, Makoko, to accept the protection of France, which equated to the establishment of a French colony.
The King also helped to choose a suitable place on the bank of the river to build a new city called Brazzaville.
A few years later, Brazza was appointed Governor of the so-called Congo French.He was renowned for his kindness to the locals, unlike the way Belgians were wearing with those on the other side.
After his death, he was buried in the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, but his body was later moved to Brazzaville.
PLACES OF VISIT FROM BRAZZAVILE
- Saint Anne’s Basilica – With a huge green roof and a row of sharp arches that form the outer walls.
- Designed by Roger Erell (1907-1986), the church was built in 1949 and the shape of the walls was partially inspired by the spears used by tribes in the northern part of the country.
- Sacre-Coeur Cathedral, situated on a hill, in the central area. Built in the 1890s, it is the oldest in Central Africa. It was visited by Pope Paul II in 1980.
- Mausoleum Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, the forerunner of the explorer and governor of the French Congo.
- Mosques in Brazzaville – are at least six built by Western Muslim immigrants, especially from Mali.
- The Malik Mosque in Poto-Poto was built in the middle of the 20th century and was recently equipped with high minarets, while the al-Sunna Mosque is the largest in the country – it can accommodate cc. 2,000 believers.
- 1880 – The city is founded by the French
- 1891 – Brazzaville is declared the capital of the French Congo
- 1909 – The city is divided into districts
- 1910 – French equatorial Africa is created
- 1924 – Construction of the railway line to the Atlantic coast
- 1944 – Conference in Brazzaville
- 1958 – Founding of the Autonomous Republic of Congo, with its capital in Brazzaville.
- 1960 – The city becomes the capital of the independent country
- 1971 – The local higher education institution becomes a university.
- 1980 – Administrative reform separates the city from the basin region.
- 1997 – 1999 – Civil war comprises the city and the whole country.
- 2006 – Construction of Mausoleum Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza