Let us first take you round Accra, which became Ghana's capital
in 1877 when the administration was removed from Cape Coast.
Here in the nation's capital, you will find, on one hand, a
bustling, modern metropolis, and on the other, fascinating monuments
to Ghana's relations with the outside world throughout the country's
As an ancient trading post between Africa and Europe, Accra's
commercial activities were largely centred around 2 forts -
James Fort and Ussher Fort, from which the surrounding areas
derived their names.
The National Museum is located within walking distance of the
Novotel Hotel on Barnes Road. It was established in 1957 and
was officially opened by the Duchess of Kent, Britain on the
eve of Ghana's Independence. The National Museum houses a fascinating
collection of Ghana's historical treasures as well as artifacts
from other ancient African empires. The collections range from
pre-historic, archaeological discoveries, to colonial antiquities
and exhibits of contemporary African art. You can see the famous
Ashanti gold weights used long ago to determine the value of
goods. There is a collection of traditional drums used to convey
messages between villages and linguists' staffs with totems
of various Ghanaian tribal clans.
The Museum is open from 9am - 5pm Tuesday through Sunday. Admission
fee is charged. There is an additional nominal charge for taking
Centre Of National
Culture (Arts Centre)
Adjacent to this area is the Centre for National Culture, which
preserves and presents Ghanaian arts in various ways, through
exhibits, workshops and art galleries. The Bulletin Board at
the entrance to the Main Hall announces current programmes,
plays and other cultural events - one attraction is the Saturday
afternoon traditional variety show.
What interests most visitors, though, is the Centre's arts and
crafts bazaar and traditional textile market.
A 15minute walk further down "High Street", brings
you to "Independence Square" which is the venue for
many national celebrations. There is a "war memorial"
in the Square dedicated to "the unknown soldier" and
there is also the "Independence Arch", especially
constructed to commemorate Ghana's Independence from British
colonial rule on March 6, 1957.
Another monument in the Square reminds Ghanaians and visitors
of the shooting on 28th February 1948 of some Ghanaian veterans
of World War II by a British Police Officer. The angry protests
and countrywide demonstrations against this incident strengthened
the call for independence.
Osu Castle, formerly known as "Christianborg Castle",
was built in 1659 and named After King Christian V of Denmark.
Throughout its history, the Castle changed hands among foreign
competitors several times until the early 1920's. It has served
as the official residence of colonial Governors and visiting
foreign dignitaries. Today it is the official seat of the Government
Du Bois Grave And Memorial
Near the Castle wall is the former grave site of a famous African
American scholar, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois. Dr. Du Bois was an intellectual
and a great Pan-Africanist, who spend his last years in Ghana
working together with Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President
of Ghana. Originally, his body was interred near the castle;
later his remains and the ashes of his wife, Shirley, were transferred
to a final resting place dedicated in their honour, known as
the Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture.
The Centre has become a great tourist attraction and a source
of inspiration to many. Dr. Du Bois lived in the house now dedicated
to him until his death. It is significant that he died on the
eve of the Martin Luther King's historic march in Washington
D.C., in the USA.
The Centre houses a research library and a gallery of manuscripts
and works of outstanding Pan-Africanists. There are facilities
for lectures, workshops and video shows.
14km north of Accra, on the Airport Road past Tetteh Quarshie
Circle, is Ghana's premier centre of higher education, the University
of Ghana, at Legon. It was established in 1948.
The campus has beautiful gardens and tree-lined drives. A walk
or drive uphill provides an impressive vista of Accra and the
Atlantic ocean. The University's School of Performing Arts offers
music and dancing lessons on request. The Balm Library holds
a large Africana collection.
Situated in a rustic enclave 25km west of Accra is the over
30-room Kokrobite Resort and Academy of African Music and Arts.
The Academy gives short courses in drumming and dancing if you
give them advance notice. Please contact P.O. Box 2923, Accra,
Ghana for more information.
Nearby there is a typical fishing community which designed and
developed a United Nations award-winning kiln for fish smoking
known as the "Chorkor Smoker". It is worth a visit
to "Kokrobite" just to taste delicious fish prepared
by this method.
"Asafotufiam" is an annual warrior's festival
celebrated by the people of Ada from the last Thursday of July
to the first weekend of August. It commemorates the victories
of the warriors in battle and those who fell on the battlefield.
To re-enact these historic events, the "warrior" dress
in traditional battle dress and stage a mock battle. This is
also a time when the young men are introduced to warfare. The
festival also ushers in the harvest cycle; for this, special
customs and ceremonies are performed. These include "purification"
ceremonies. The celebration reaches its climax in a durbar of
Chiefs, a colouful procession of the Chiefs in palanquins with
their retinue. They are accompanied by traditional military
groups called "Asafo Companies" amidst drumming, singing
and dancing through the streets and on to the durbar grounds.
At the durbar, greetings are exchanged between the chiefs, libations
are poured and declarations of allegiance made.
This is a harvest festival celebrated by the Gas. It originated
from a period of great famine which was eventually followed
by a bumper harvest in grain and fish. Thus, the word "Homowo",
literally means "hooting at hunger". The main highlight
of this month-long festival is the special dish prepared from
ground corn, steamed and mixed with palm oil and eaten with
palmnut soup. Prayers for a peaceful and prosperous year are
offered. Each Ga chief is followed by a retinue with drumming,
dancing and singing through his area where he sprinkles some
of the special dish call "kpokpoi" and pours libation.
It is merry-making for Gas and visitors in particular are invited
home to join in the feasting.
Centre For National Culture (Arts
Adjacent to the Centre for National Culture there is an open-air
arts and crafts bazaar which sells a variety of interesting
souvenirs. These artifacts are crafted in wood, cloth, leather,
metal, or beads, and are representative of Ghanaian workmanship
from nearly every region of the country.
Listed are some of the things you may find especially interesting.
Gold Weights - These are reproductions
of the famous Ashanti weights which were originally made of
copper, bronze and brass and were cast from models enclosed
in clay which was baked to make the mould. The weights are in
human and animal forms and each form tells its own story, rooted
in the country's history and culture.
Boards - Oware is one of the oldest games of Ghana. The
gameboard is made of wood in which two parallel sets of such
holes have been carved. The playing pieces are usually seeds
form the Mulucca Bean or Nicker Nut Tree. It can take hours
to play a game. Tradition states that a game of oware between
a man and a woman lasted so long, they decided to get married
so that they would have enough time to finish the game. So the
game derived its name from the Akan word which literally means,
& Garments - Gay cotton fabrics always attract attention
with their fascinating designs and brilliant colours. They are
produced in Ghana at the textile mills in Tema and Akosombo.
There are also the equally popular, but perhaps more expensive,
textiles such as batiks, tie-and-dye, Kente, adinkra, and Kyenkyen
fabrics. Many of the cloths have names like "Adasima Proe
(half stone, half metal) - so be sure to check if the design
you have chosen has a special name.
Cloth - "Kente" is the national cloth of Ghana.
This colorful and distinctive cloth is usually worn on festive
and official occasions. A full length Kente cloth is made up
of small Kente strips by special craftsmen. To learn more about
Kente and its origins, visit the National Museum on Barnes Road
in Accra or the Kumasi Cultural Centre.
- Produced in northern Ghana, Batakari is woven from
handspun threads of coarse cotton. Batakari is usually fashioned
into loose pullovers, or smock-like tunics worn by men and boys.
Adinkra - The name of this
beautiful Ghanaian cloth literally means "leave-taking
or parting", thus it is primarily worn for funerals. It
derives its unique qualities from hand-stamped symbols which
represent Akan proverbs and folklore. The symbols are carved
on calabash which is then dipped in a dye made from bark, and
printed on plain cotton cloth.
National Conference Centre
A modern conference centre which hosted the 10th Ministerial
Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in September 1991.
It consist of a 1,600 capacity main hall, a balcony, multifunctional
halls for conferences, congresses, folkshows, cinema, theatrical,
music and rock shows; a press centre, shopping centre and all
modern communication equipment necessary for the smooth functioning
of a modern conference centre.
Ghana National Theater
Located at the intersection of Independence Avenue and Liberia
Road. This splendid theater was opened in 1992. It seats 1,500
people and also boasts of a fine outdoor theater and conference
facilities. The Theatre Gardens, managed by the owners of Country
Kitchen, is a restaurant inside the complex that offers a pleasant
spot for Ghanaian-style meals. At the rear of the building,
at the entrance to the exhibition hall, is a small but interesting
This 10-room beachfront resort is located off the main Accra-Tema
Road, at Teshie-Nungua. About 20minutes drive from the city
centre, this little resort is constructed in a typically African
style. The beach is great for sun seekers and the hotel also
has facilities for campers. Tel: 233-21-712887/229997
Celebrity Golf Club & Holiday
Located outside the city centre, just off the Accra-Tema Beach
Road at Sakumono the resort is a 30-minute drive from Accra
or a 10-minute drive from Tema. Tel: 233-22-4742/4312
December Makola Market
The 31st December Makola Market is located on Kojo Thompson
Road. It is a large and busy market, where traders from surrounding
villages bring their wares every day.
Located along the Kaneshie-Mallam Road, this is a three-storey
market built to satisfy the great demands of a growing city.
You will find foodstuffs on the ground floor, provisions and
household items on the first floor and textiles on the second.
The Kaneshie Market is open from 6am-6pm daily.
Osu Night Market
One of the interesting sights in Accra at night is the Osu Night
Market. Hundreds of lanterns illuminate mouth-watering local
delicacies such as juicy roasted meat or fish smothered in hot
Try some kenkey (a ball of boiled fermented corn dough) with
fried or grilled fish and ground pepper, or "fufu"
(a soft dough-like paste of pounded cassava and plantain) that
is eaten with light/palm or groundnut soup with mutton or fish.
There is a similar market at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle.