Capital | Ouagadougou
Population | 15,746,232 (July 2009 est.)
Area | 274,200 sq km
Official language | French
Holidays | Republic Day, 11 December
Currency | Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF)
Time Zone | UTC
Best time to visit | November to February
Connecting with the Culture | Strolling through Ouagadougouby day and then dancing the night away. Marvelling at the intricate decorations of Bani’s seven mosques. Kicking back in the languid charm of the Bobo-Dioulasso, with its old quarter and distinctive Grand Mosquee. Exploring the other worldly landscapes of the Sindou Peaks near Banfora. Wandering amid the colour of Gorom-Gorom’s Thursday market. Swimming in the Karfiguela waterfalls in the dry season.
Read | The Maxims, Thoughts and Riddles of the Mossi by Dim-Dolobsom Ouedraogo, which offers a glimpse of Burkina Faso barely 30 years after the French colonised it.
Listen | to Idak Bassave’s `Les Memes Problemes’
Watch |Les Etrangers by Mamadou Kola Djim, or Samba Traore by Idrissa Ouedraogo -both are excellent Burkinabe directors.
Eat | pintade grille (grilled guinea fowl) or riz sauce (rice with sauce).
Drink | Brakina or Sobbra – popular lager type beers.
In a word | Start the day some More’ (the language of the Mossi): yee-bay-roh (good morning)
Characteristics | The Pan African Film Festival; a `don’t worry be happy’ attitude.
Surprises | Between Sahelian empires and coastal kingdoms, between Saharan desertscapes and southern waterfalls, Burkina Faso weaves many of Africa’s diverging strands into a fascinating and thouroughly seductive fabric. The Burkinabe are descended from a long line of regal emperors and Burkina Faso literally translates as `Homeland of the Incorruptible’, or `Country of Honest Men’. As a means of fostering unity among an ethically diverse people, the name was coined from two of the country’s most widely spoken languages; the More’ word for `pure’ and the Dioula word for homeland.