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GREATER ACCRA


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 history.

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.


TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

CULTURAL

National Museum
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 photographs.


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.


Independence Square
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
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 of Ghana.


W.E.B. 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.


University Of Ghana
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.


Kokrobite Beach Resort
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.


FESTIVALS

"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.


Homowo Festival
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.



HANDICRAFTS

Centre For National Culture (Arts Centre)
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.

Oware 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, "he marries".

Textiles & 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.

Kente 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.

Batakari - 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.


Accra 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 gift shop.
Tel: 233-21-663449/663559


Coco Beach Resort
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 Resort
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


MARKETS

31st 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.


Kaneshie Market
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 pepper sauce.

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.
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