The Rwandan genocide sites provide a deep understanding of what occurred during the 1994 terrific civil war. In the space of 100 days, the Rwandan genocide left more than 800,000 people dead and thousands displaced. Significant genocide memorial sites today exist in many parts of Rwanda in commemoration of the 1994 civil war. There are exhibits of victims remains, personal belonging, photographs, etc.
Major genocide sites in Rwanda
Murambi memorial centre
Murambi memorial site is a burial center for over 2700 victims of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. It is located in the former Murambi technical school close to Murambi town. It is also one of the hard-reach genocide sites given a display of the skeletons and bodies of the victims. While at Murambi, victims can even be recognized and identified by relatives/friends.
It is at Murambi technical school where the Tutsi were told to seek refugee from with the thought that they would be protected by the French soldiers, unfortunately, it was a trap. When they gathered, they didn’t have what to eat, and later, they were attacked by the militia. Today, the former classrooms serve as display areas.
Kigali genocide memorial
Kigali memorial center is 10 minutes drive from the heart of Kigali. It is where 250,000 victims were killed and laid to rest. It is under the management of AEGIS, a UK Non-government organization, an organ that is committed to stopping genocides from occurring worldwide. There are several exhibits of skulls, personal belongings, reconciliation efforts, pictures, etc on display at the Kigali genocide memorial center.
Kigali memorial center has a beautiful garden with several graves where the victims of the Rwandan genocide were laid to rest. Relatives and friends gather at the Kigali genocide site to reconnect with their dear ones. For most Kigali city tours, the Kigali genocide center is the nearest area tourists visit.
Gisozi memorial centre
Located in Gasabo district near Kigali capital, Gisozi memorial site is one of the important Rwandan genocide sites where over 2000 victims were laid to rest. It became a tourism center and there is a display house, cemetery, library, and photo gallery.
Gisenyi memorial center
Found in Gisenyi peripheries, Gisenyi genocide site is where over 12000 victims of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 were killed. It is one of the first sites to be established with the assistance of the Ibuka. Bodies of the Rwandan genocide were collected from Nyundo and Corniche area and then buried at Gisenyi.
Nyamata memorial centre
Nyamata genocide site is where 25000 victims of the Rwandan genocide were laid to rest. For visitors interested in dark historic sites/dark tourism, Nyamata is one place to consider a must-visit on Rwanda safari. The memorial center is found in the former Nyamata church, 30kms from the Kigali capital, and it is set in Bugesera. Nyamata happened to be the place where the Tutsi people gathered for safety as churches were considered to be safe places, but unfortunately, they turned to be death traps during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Nyanza genocide site
During the reign of the Rwanda genocide, a school existed in Nyanza, known as ETO- Ecole Technique Officielle located in Kicukiro district. Before the Rwandan genocide, the UN officials came to offer security to the Rwandese, and immediately after the war began, they went back leaving them without help. On 11th April of every year, a memorial ritual is done in remembrance of the victims who lost their lives in cold blood during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Ntarama memorial center
Ntarama genocide site is 30kms from the heart of the Kigali capital. It is found in Bugesera and resting place of 5000 victims of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Ntarama is a former catholic church where thousands of victims were massacred. Compared to the rest of the church memorial centers, Ntarama is small in size.
Bisesero genocide centre
Located 60kms off Kibuye, Bisesero memorial center is the resting place for over 40,000 victims of the Rwandan genocide. The memorial center tells the story of Tutsi who resisted the Hutu militia on the hill of Bisesero using stones. Because of the weak weapons, the majority of them were killed by the Hutu. There are 9 small structures representing 9 communities that originally formed the Kibuye Area. The memorial center is today called the Hill of Resistance considering the brave resistance the Tutsi exhibited against their opponents- the Hutu.
Nyarubuye genocide memorial site
Located 140kms off from Kigali, Nyarubuye is a catholic church and resting place of 20,000 victims of the Rwandan genocide site. Most Tutsis were brutally murdered here as they tried to escape to Tanzania. Today, preserved remains of the victims can be witnessed while on a visit to Nyarubuye. Their remains were preserved inside the convent of the memorial and the school was renovated in 2003.