It is a strange mixture of colonial buildings, shanty buildings and modern offices and is the main administrative centre for the country. Bathurst (as Banjul was originally called) was founded in the early 19th century by the British Army and Royal Navy as a military base to prevent the continuation of the slave trade along the River Gambia. The name was changed to Banjul shortly after The Gambia received its independence from Britain in 1965.
Banjul is relatively easy to navigate as the roads are laid out in a grid. The heart of the city is 22 July Square and Albert Market where you can buy anything from spices to shoes. This is where most local residents do their daily shopping, whilst the small tourist and craft market behind offers a good selection of local crafts and some more unusual pieces from neighbouring countries such as Mali and Guinea Bissau. Although Banjul has little specifically aimed at tourists, it is an interesting place and a hive of activity with plenty of hustle and bustle. Banjul Museum, situated in the centre of Banjul, has many items of interest relating to tribal traditions, music, agriculture and the British Colonial years, right up to the present day.