Ouagadougou (pronounced /ˌwɑːɡəˈduːɡuː/, Mossi: [ˈwaɡᵊdᵊɡᵊ]) is the capital of Burkina Faso and the administrative, communications, cultural and economic center of the nation. It is also the country's largest city, with a population of 1,475,223 (as of 2006). The city's name is often shortened to Ouaga. The inhabitants are called ouagalais. The spelling of the name Ouagadougou is derived from the French orthography common in former French African colonies. If English orthography were used (as in Ghana or Nigeria), the spelling would be Wagadugu.
Ouagadougou's primary industries are food processing and textiles. It is served by an international airport, rail links to Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire and to Kaya in the north of Burkina, and a highway to Niamey, Niger. Ouagadougou was the site of Ouagadougou grand market, one of the largest markets in West Africa, which burned in 2003 and remains closed. Other attractions include the National Museum of Burkina Faso, the Moro-Naba Palace (site of the Moro-Naba Ceremony), the National Museum of Music, and several craft markets.
The Bangr-Weoogo urban park (area: 2.63 km2 (1 sq mi)), before colonialism, belonged to the Mosse chiefs. Considering it a sacred forest, many went there for traditional initiations or for refuge. The French colonists, disregarding its local significance and history, established it as a park in the 1930s. In 1985, renovations were done in the park. In January 2001, the park was renamed “Parc Urbain Bangr-Weoogo,” meaning "the urban park of the forest of knowledge."
Another notable park in Ouagadougou is the “L’Unité Pédagogique”, which shelters animals in a semi-free state. This botanic garden/biosphere system stretches over 8 hectares (20 acres) and also serves as a museum for the country’s history.
“Jardin de l’amitié Ouaga-Loudun” (Garden of Ouaga-Loudun Friendship), with a green space that was renovated in 1996, is a symbol of the twin-city relationship between Ouagadougou and Loudun in France. It is situated in the center of the city, near the “Nation Unies’ crossroads.”
“Naba Koom” is a statue depicting a woman handling a calabash to pour water. The 6-metre (20 ft) high statue faces the railway station, welcoming travellers into Ouaga. The place bears the name of an important chief in Burkina Faso’s history.
“Laongo”, 30 km (19 mi) east of the city, features enormous granite slabs that were designed by various sculptors. The exhibit displays works of art from five continents.
“La Place du Grand Lyon” is a monument that reflects the relationship between Burkina Faso’s capital and Lyon in France. It is located near the French cultural Center George Melies and features an imposing lion. A zoo called “Parc Animalier de Ziniaré” is located 30 km (19 mi) east of the city in the hometown of the president.
* National Museum of Music: exhibits all the musical instruments of Burkina Faso.
* Musée de Manega: also exhibits musical instruments of Burkina Faso, Mossi rifles and other cultural items. Located 55 km (34 mi) northwest of the city