Congo River at dusk © MONUSCO Photos
The capital and largest city of the Republic of Congo, Brazzaville is located on the mighty Congo River, just opposite the sprawling city of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the only place in the world where two capital cities face each other across a river. Over a third of the Republic of Congo's population live in Brazzaville, which is located in flat savanna terrain. The city's history has been marred by multiple conflicts, but in recent years it has been more peaceful as it slowly recovers from a long civil war.
Brazzaville is generally just a stopover for tourists keen to explore the Congo's rainforest or Pointe Noire, but it is an interesting city and has enough sights and sounds to keep visitors entertained for a few happy days. Landmarks include St Anne's Basilica, a beautiful church built in 1949, the Palais du Peuple, a colonial palace built in 1901, the Nabemba Tower, and the Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza Mausoleum. There are markets to be explored at Moungali, Poto-Poto and Bacongo and the city has some wonderful restaurants and views over the Congo River. The beautiful Livingstone Falls lie just on the outskirts of the city, where the Djoue River meets the Congo. The Congo River seems always to have exerted a powerful influence on the human imagination, luring explorers, adventurers and traders for centuries, and seeing the vast waterway is reason enough to visit Brazzaville for many tourists.