Bangui was founded as a French commercial base in 1889, established on the banks of the Ubangi River. Famed in colonial times as one of the most pleasant cities in equatorial Africa because of its forested hills and grassy meadows, nowadays it also displays heavily populated shantytowns. The city, being the scene of intense rebel activity and destruction, suffered significant damage during the coup attempts of the late 1990s and early 2000s. As a result, it gained fame as one of the most dangerous in the world. Despite the recent chaotic history and politics, Bangui remains culturally prolific: Bangui’s artisans’ market holds traditional wares representing the art products from different regions of the country. The Boganda Museum in Bangui exhibits traditional instruments, architecture, hunting tools, pottery, and ancient religious objects. The crafts center in Bangui provides training in artistic crafting in leather, ivory, and ebony wares. Furthermore, archaeological studies have found many Iron Age sites, illuminating the pre-European history of this area.
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