The Ashanti Region occupies a central spot on the map of Ghana.
It is a land of ancient royalty and centuries-old traditions.
The capital, Kumasi, was once the nucleus of the Asante Kingdom
and was the geographic meeting point of two powerful trading
systems Ethe Sudanic Empires across the Sahara to the north,
and the Gold Mining Kwaman Forest Region which traded to the
south with Europeans on the Coast. Established by King Osei
Tutu in 1695, Kumasi was connected by royal roads and paths
to all the leading provinces beyond the "Kingdom Of Gold"
Named after the Garden City because of its tree-line streets
and public flower gardens, Kumasi has a special attraction for
tourists because of its martial history and culture of the gold
trade. One can reach Kumasi from Accra and other cities by air,
but it is preferable to come by car, bus or rail in order to
enjoy the tropical forests and picturesque villages along the
The Cultural Centre is located in the heart of the city and
offers a variety of special historic and cultural attractions.
Prempeh II Jubilee Museum
This is a museum of Ashanti royalty and history, where you will
be brought face-to-face with royal paraphernalia crafted in
gold, and mementoes of the wars that created the extensive Ashanti
Kingdom, including the "Golden Stool" the "Brass Pan of Independence"
which caused the 1697-1699 war between the Ashantis and their
Denkyira overlords, famous royal battle garb, and an outstanding
collection of historic photographs.
The museum is open from 8am - 5pm Tuesday through Friday and
2pm - 5pm on Monday. Admission fee is charged.
Cultural Crafts Centre
A visit to the Crafts Centre is a special experience. One will
see local carvers, brass smiths, Kente weavers, sculptors, basket
weavers, 'Adinkra' textile printers, and potters at work and
even take lessons in these crafts at the Centre for a modest
For souvenirs, the Gift Shop has a vast selection of leather-work,
carvings, handmade Kente and Adinkra cloth, raffia items and
artwork to choose from.
This is a weekly cultural spectacle, which includes drumming,
dancing, drama, poetry recitals, gospel and choral music. Anokyekrom
is a popular weekend diversion for everyone. You are expected
to join in the dancing. The hours are 2pm - 7pm, Saturdays only.
Admission fee is charged.
With advance reservation, the Centre's Folkloric Troupe will
entertain you with a variety of Ghana music and dance. The troupe
also includes a resident fetish priest.
Lessons in drumming, dancing, cloth draping, pottery making,
textile weaving, brass-smiting and basket weaving are available.
For reservations call 233-051-2825/5558/2421.
Model Ashanti Village
Visit a model Ashanti village complete with an authentic fetish
house, "kwankwanua" shade tree, cocoa farm, rural traps and
a palm wine bar. The palm wine is least potent from 11am - 2pm.
- Drinking Bar and Tea Shop
- Camping facilities
- The Ashanti Library
- Tourist Information Office
- Offices of the National Archives
- Offices of the Museums & Monuments Board (to certify souvenir
cultural items to be taken out of Ghana)
Adjacent to the Cultural Centre is the Kumasi Zoo. The atmosphere
is relaxing and there is a good variety of animals, including
lions, elephants, primates, reptiles and birds. Admission fee
Just behind the Okomfo Anokye Hospital, one will find the Okomfo
Anokye Sword. It is named after a famous traditional priest
who, in the 17th century, was said to have conjured the "Golden
Stool" from the sky.
Legend states that as high priest of the Akan kingdoms, he drove
his sword into the ground with such force that it has remained
there ever since, marking the site of the new imperial city,
Kumasi, which unified the Akan kingdoms. The site is revered
by all as a sacred shrine.
Fort And The Armed Forces Museum
A red brick fortress, opposite the Central Post Office marks
the former site of the palace of the Ashanti kings, which was
sacked and destroyed in 1896, when Kumasi was burned to the
Shortly thereafter, stones from the palace walls were used to
construct Fort George, Ghana’s only inland fort. Today this
fort serves as a military museum with exhibits from the Ashanti
wars, the two World Wars, the Congo crisis of the early 1960s,
and Ghana’s post-independence military history. Exhibits include
antique guns of various makes, photographs and paintings, flags
and uniforms. The museum is open from 9am to 2pm every day except
Sunday. Admission fee is charged.
Not far from Kumasi Fort, through the bustling commercial centre
of Adum, you will find the Central Market. The largest in West
Africa, this market is enlivened by the den of traders advertising
their wares and the colourful mix of merchandise. You can buy
everything and anything through lively bargaining with market
women, whose straw hats are a metre wide.
If you are looking for hand-made or machine-made textiles, beads,
herbal preparations, food, or cosmetics, then you have come
to the right place. The market is open throughout the week from
Manhyia Palace, the residence of the Kings of Ashanti since
1924, is also nearby. The palace complex consists of the old
palace, the new palace (1970), the King’s courts, the Queen
Mother’s Palace, Secretariats and an Institute of Ashanti Studies.
It is open throughout the week and can be toured with the permission
of the Public Relations Officer.
Once every six weeks, there is “AdaeEfestival at the Palace
when the King turns out in all his golden regalia.
Kwame Nkrumah University Of Science
Visit the University, a beautiful over seven square-mile campus
housing over four thousand students of both sexes. Interesting
places on campus include the College of Art, the Swimming Pool
and the adjoining University Botanical Garden. The Olympic-size
Swimming pool opens at 2pm E5pm daily. Admission fee is charged.
Street Side Native Sandals Makers
Along the northern perimeter of the Central Market on the way
to Manhyia Palace, you can observe Ashanti Craftsmen producing
exquisite and colourful Ashanti native sandals “AhenemaE You
are welcome to try some of them on.
At Suame can be found ‘Kumasi MagazineE a vast area for auto
mechanical workshops where Ashanti engineering ingenuity can
be found at its best. Here, every conceivable mechanical fault
on all makes of vehicles are fixed through perfect improvisation
that baffles modern engineers.
Four kilometers north of Kumasi on Mampong Road, Pankronu is
the home of pottery. Women turn out exquisite clay pots, earthenware
bowls, and water jugs, without resorting to the use of a potter’s
wheel. All their wares are fired in traditional kilns. (The
village of Afari, 12km on Nkawie Road also has good potters).
Eight kilometres further on Mampong Road is Ahwiaa, where the
famous Ashanti stools and “AkuabaEfertility dolls are produced.
At the carving sheds, one can observe craftsmen creating impressive
carvings from solid barks of wood. These skilful carvers also
produce masks, symbolic figures, bone and ivory beads and walking
sticks. There are several shops stocked to the brim with carvings,
presenting a wide selection of gift items. (Ofoase on Trabuom
Road is also noted for carvings).
Proceeding another 10km on the Mampong Road, the visitor will
find Ntonso, where the hand-printed “AdinkraEcloth is produced.
It is very interesting to see the various stages that go into
the production of an Adinkra cloth. These processes include
the brewing of dyes from the roots and barks of the “badieEtree,
special dyeing procedures, needle embroidery and the actual
printing of “Adinkra SymbolsEonto the fabric with Adinkra Stamps.
The end result is quite breathtaking.
While generally the Adinkra cloth is used for funerals, the
white, yellow, blue and green types may be used for social occasions.
You can buy Adinkra cloths from the craftsmen themselves through
the same lively bargaining that leaves both buyer and seller
Twenty kilometres northeast of Kumasi is Bonwire, the home of
Kente, where the colourful, world-famous Kente cloth is woven
on traditional Ashanti looms. Bonwire can be reached by bus
or taxi from the station in Kumasi near the Manhyia Palace.
When you arrive at the village the first thing you will hear
are the musical sounds of the looms, complemented by the lusty
singing of the craftsmen. Thread spinners, hundreds of colouful
shuttles and sturdy looms clutter the homes and spill out onto
verandas and open spaces of the village.
Kente comes in two distinct textures: single-weave (light) and
double-weave (thick and heavy). Simple, single weave pieces
are less expensive. There is a wide range of designs, from simple
to very complex.
Kente is worn for ceremonial occasions. The weavers sell their
own Kente and there are also several shops which offer a good
selection of cloth. All prices are, of course, subject to bargaining.
Look for the world’s single richest gold mine, in the town of
Obuasi, 50km southwest of Kumasi. This “level and shaftEmine
can be toured on foot. A great deal of the mining activities
take place above ground and thus can be easily observed. Underground
tours can also be arranged with advance reservation. Contact
the Ghana Tourist Board for assistance, Tel 233-051-6243, Public
Relations Manager, Ashanti Goldfields Co., Obuasi 233-0582-265/503/405.
Note: Good quality gold can be legally purchased at Diamond
House, in Accra.
Owabi Bird Sanctuary
The Owabi Bird Sanctuary is just 15km from Kumasi. It is a Winter
home for a variety of migratory birds as well as tropical birds
who live there year round.
If you are looking for peace and serenity, you will be delighted
with Lake Bosomtwe. Believed to have been formed by a falling
meteorite, this large, circular lake nestles in a crater 364
feet above sea level, which is surrounded by mountains. One
can descend into the crater by road to visit the fishing villages
around the Lake and it is also fun just to sit and watch the
fisher folk paddling their carved “plankEboats with palm oars.
If you are planning to spend the day at Lake Bosomtwe, be sure
to pack a picnic lunch.
The Lake is accessible from Abonu and can be reached by taking
a bus or taxi from the Asafo Market in Kumasi.
Traditional shrines are the provinces of the fetish priests
and priestesses. These places of worship and religious rituals
can be found in any of the following villages:
Abirem 12km on Kumasi-Bonwire Road
Ejisu Besease 20km on the Kumasi Accra Road
Kentinkronu near Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology
Patakro 35km on Obuasi Road
During “AdaeEfestivals, there are religious observances at
all shrines in Ashanti. You are welcome to visit the shrines
but be sure to take along a traditional gift for the priest
or priestess. (A bottle of Peppermint Schnapps is the libation
preferred by the ancestors).
Adae and Akwasidae
The pomp and pageantry of the Ashanti Kingdom is most vividly
brought to life during beautiful “Adae FestivalsEwhich are
held at the Palace once every 6 weeks. These are occasions when
the King, riding in a palanquin and adorned with all his gold
ornaments, comes out to receive the homage of his sub-chiefs
and people. It is a spectacular sight to watch the colourful
canopies and umbrellas, the skillful drummers, dancers, horn-blowers
and praise-singers at these regular festivals, held in honour
of the ancestral spirits.
Time your visit to coincide with an Akwasidae Festival, (Sunday
Adae). You can determine the ‘AkwasidaeEdates by counting 6
weeks down the calendar from 1 Adae. For example, in 1991 the
dates were: January 6, February 17, March 31 May 12, June 23,
August 4, September 15, October 27, December 8.
Ashantis celebrate funerals on Saturday afternoons. After the
burial, there is a large gathering of mourners and sympathizers
dressed in the red and black garb of mourning. There is always
lively drumming and dancing to “adowE “keteE(the royal dance)