The Palais de la Nation is a neo-classical structure designed by the colonial authorities as a residence for the governor-general, but only completed after independence. It sits in the Gombe district of the city, facing an enormous public space intended for public gatherings, and originally the site of a statue of King Leopold on his horse.
The declaration of independence was made in this building in 1960, and it remains famous for Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba’s controversial public denunciation of colonial rule, just six months before his assassination by domestic and foreign opponents in 1961.
The Palais de la Nation became the country’s parliament and symbol of the independent nation, depicted on stamps and in paintings. Later it served as the official residence of the president. Leopold’s statue has been replaced by a mausoleum for President Laurent Kabila.