Bamako is the capital and largest city of Mali. The capital of Mali, which is now considered one of the fastest developing African countries, is located at the southern end of the country. Bamako is the 7th largest city in West Africa after Lagos, Abidjan, Kano, Ibadan, Dakar and Accra.
Where is Bamako?
Bamako, the capital of Mali, is located in the southwest of the country. Located at the intersection of the Niger and Senegal Valleys, the city is located on the banks of the Niger River.
When did Bamako Become the Capital?
In the early ages, the most important source of livelihood for the people of the region was agriculture and fishing. The Niger River was suitable for fishing. The surrounding land was also suitable for agriculture. Thanks to the fertile agricultural lands provided by the Niger River, the kingdoms in the region were enriched. With this wealth, expansions began to trade in Sahara, North Africa and Europe. The first inhabitants of the region engaged in gold, ivory, cola nuts and salt trade.
By the 11th century, the Ghana Empire became the first great kingdom in the region to proclaim its sovereignty. The Mali Empire grew rapidly during the Middle Ages and created a great dominance in West Africa, dominating Senegal, Gambia, Guinea and Mauritania. During this growth period, cultural investments were made in Bamako. Bamako, which became an important cultural center with the opening of two universities and numerous mosques in the Middle Ages, has also been a favorite place for Islamic scholars. In the 14th century, the Mali Empire became increasingly prosperous thanks to the trade in cotton, gold and salt. This wealth began to attract the attention of other states. In the 16th century, the Berber invaders from Morocco took control of Mali. Sub-Saharan trade was then taken over by seafarers.
The fertile lands and the good money-making commercial activities in the region where Bamako is located gradually began to attract the attention of European states. Towards the end of the 19th century, the French dominated the vast majority of West Africa. In 1883, Mali became part of the French Sudan colony, and in 1908 it was recognized as the capital of the colony. During this period, many investments were made by the French in Bamako region. Cotton and rice farming, large irrigation projects and the new railway combined Mali with the Atlantic coast of Dakar. Mali, the capital of Bamako, remained under the sovereignty of the French West African Federation between 1895-1959. Mali, who left France in April 1960 and declared independence, chose Bamako as its capital.
Features of Bamako
According to the Bamako 2009 census, it has a population of 2 million. Bamako has a surface area of 245 square kilometers. Bamako has a warm and arid climate. As of January, temperatures begin to drop in the city, but no freezing temperatures. With the arrival of summer, continuous rains begin in the city. The city has become a major trading center thanks to the river port near Koulikoro. Bamako, which is a leader in textile, processed meat and metal production, contributes greatly to the national economy.
Besides being an economic center, it is the administrative and conference center of Mali. Every year, thousands of tourists visit the city for trade, business meetings, various cultural events and sightseeing. The history of Bamako, which attracted the attention of states in many periods of history and which they wanted to rule, dates back to the early ages. Bamako, which has been chosen as a campus since the Paleolithic Age, has favorable living conditions with the advantages of the Niger River. Bamako, the crossroads of West Africa, also receives immigration from neighboring countries. Today the population of Bamako consists of people of various ethnic backgrounds.
Bamako is one of the most popular cities in Africa with its artistic activities. In the 1990s, Bamako, which had a musical explosion, raised many musicians. After vocalist Salif Keita and singer Ali Farka Toure achieved great success in the 90s, the world of music turned to Bamako. The ethnic diversity of the city has also created a great wealth in the musical field. As you wander through the streets of Bamako, you will often encounter djembes and percussion musicians playing Bamana rhythms. Street artists can be seen all over the city.
Important Places to See in Bamako
Bamako, one of the largest cities in West Africa, offers many places to visit and many activities to do. Bamako, the capital of Mali, has beautiful buildings. Most of these buildings are of historical importance. In addition to historical buildings, Bamako has museums to visit. You should visit the museums that exhibit valuable historical artifacts and rare pieces of art in the city. Bamako is one of the cities with its natural beauties. Bamako’s natural beauty is worth seeing.
You can start exploring Bamako from the Bamako Grand Mosque. It is the largest mosque in the city and has an architecture worth seeing. Muso Kunda Museum is a museum dedicated to women and works against gender inequality. Bamako Zoo is one of the must-see places with its diversity of animals. Bamako Botanical Garden is a must-see park in Bamoka with its colorful plants. The National Museum of Mali is one of the most popular spots for tourists, exhibiting documents and historical artifacts that mirror the history of Mali. Point G Hill is a must-see for Bamako bird’s eye view. Bamako Sacred Heart Cathedral is a must-see with unique architecture that adds color to the city center. Bamako National Park is one of the places worth seeing with its various facilities and natural beauties. King Fahd Bridge, Bamako’s rural settlements and neighboring countries, this bridge is one of the city’s touristic points.