Peaceful and compact, Huye was founded in the early colonial era, a matter evident in the architecture of the city centre. For a period it was known as Astrida, after the late wife of the Belgian King Leopold III.
Today, Huye is a centre of academia, housing the National University of Rwanda and the National Institute of Scientific Research, as well as various training schools and colleges.
It is also notably religious, with massive cathedrals and churches where congregations sing with rousing vigour and passion.
The excellent Ethnographic Museum, also known as the National Museum, houses perhaps the most excellent ethnographic collection in Africa. Displays of traditional artefacts and antique monochrome photographs provide an insight into the pre-colonial era as well as Rwanda’s transition into a modern state.
An arboretum, planted with a mixture of exotic and indigenous species, was established on Ruhande Hill in 1933. The 200-hectare forest has recently been dedicated to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project, chosen because it is a research forest and a ‘gene bank’ of the forests found in Rwanda, which hold a tremendous importance to the country’s conservation.