To get to know the soul of the Congo you need to hit the streets. When visiting the capital city of Brazzaville, get lost in Moungali—one of its fourth districts—and discover the rich culture of the country.
Brazzaville was founded by Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza in 1880 when he was exploring the area of the Congo River. It is a great town to enjoy modern architecture and a gorgeous riverside path overlooking the river. To admire the city's charm and character, drop by the Moungali district. Spend time with the people, stop by the traders, meet the artists, and maybe attend a local wresting fight.
Explore the culture
Moungali is the fourth district of Brazzaville. Easily located by the airport, which connects the capital to the world, Moungali is a modern area with plenty of local business and an exotic market you must explore by foot. Enjoy high-quality places to eat, bars, and discos down Avenue de la Paix to enjoy the nightlife like a local. Learn about urban characters like the sapeurs. You will see them walking in the muddy streets, elegantly dress in suits and suspenders, cleaning their shoes when needed, making sure they shine. They look like a French monsieur and they stand for a social-movement where the servants dress like the masters by embracing an European style of fashion. The sapeurs are usually electricians, plumbers, or the likes and they get dressed up after work to hit the streets in fashion as a way of making a statement. The contrast of these elegant looking men in the dusty setting is a work of art.
The best market
If you are into fashion, then Moungali is your place in the Congo. The market of Moungali is filled with gorgeous fabrics that will make you an entirely new vibrant wardrobe. It is the perfect place to hunt for bargains. You will find spices, clothing boutiques, local crafts, and pottery. And most importantly, the fabric stores selling a wide selection from denim to silk, cotton, and African prints. The choice of prints is plenty, and the best part is that they are quite exclusive. Local brides tend to shop for their wedding outfits in this market or the one by the Poto-Poto district. You can also find tailors in the area if you wish to have a custom-made garment. The fabric vendors will be happy to advise you about good tailors. Just ask.
More to see
In Brazzaville, one of the sights you must visit is Basilique Sainte-Anne. The building is a modern structure from 1949 designed by the French architect Roger Erell. He is known for using ideas from the Western world and implementing them with local building techniques. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, with a green roof and carved copper doors. The best time to admire the church is by attending a mass service at 5 pm every day.