192-Part Guide To The World: Burkina Faso
Sunday 31 October 1999
Burkina Faso - previously known as Haute (Upper) Volta.
French. The main local languages are MorÃ© and Dioula (which is spoken by almost everybody as a second language).
274,122 square kilometres (about nine times bigger than Belgium).
Burkina Faso is not full of architectural gems but the troglodyte dwellings that have been hewn out of the hillsides at the small village of Koro near the town of Bobo are worth a trip.
There is not a huge, varied cuisine to speak of. Main dishes include riz sauce (gooey rice with sauce) and riz gras (gooey rice with fat).
There are three seasons. From December to February the weather is described as dry and "cool", which means that the temperature does not generally exceed 35 degrees. From March to June the weather is dry and hot. And from July to November it rains.
MOST FAMOUS CITIZEN
Captain Thomas Sankara, a left-wing military hero who loved dramatic gestures, seized power in 1983 and for four years charged around the country endearing himself to the people for his charisma and honesty. Among other things, he renamed the country Burkina Faso, which is translated as "The Land of the Incorruptible".
BEST MOMENT IN HISTORY
Few real high points, though independence in 1960 was a marginal improvement on what had gone before. That involved 60 years of French colonisation, during which time the region of Haute Volta was largely ignored in favour of CÃ¿te d'Ivoire.
WORST MOMENT IN HISTORY
Until 1932 the colony Haute Volta had covered a far larger area than it does today, which better reflected the ethnic unity of the so-called Mossi states. In that year, however, for commercial reasons, the colony was carved up by the French and most of the land given over to CÃ¿te d'Ivoire, Niger and Mali.
Cool, loose, white, enveloping clothes which will protect you from the brutal combination of sun and dust.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Don't forget to bring your (valid) yellow fever vaccination certificate, otherwise you will not be allowed into the country.
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