Kumasi City, Ashanti Region – Ghana

by Kojo Pocu
Kumasi city

The Ashanti region’s capital, Kumasi city, is a significant historical hub for Ghana. In Kumasi, tradition is highly valued and harmoniously coexists with modernity. Kumasi has a variety of attractions. The Ashanti King and other members of the royal family reside in the Manhyia Palace, which is located in the northern section of the city. The traditional council debates issues pertaining to the constitution and customs in the courtroom and courtyard of the palace. When visitors visit the courtyard, they can gain valuable insight into traditional African democracy, which is still very much alive in the people’s practices. The meetings are accessible to everyone.

The largest natural lake in Ghana, Lake Bosumtwi, is located about 32 kilometres southeast of Kumasi. The Ashanti people hold the view that after death, the souls of the deceased visit the lake to bid Twi their final farewell. According to one idea, the massive asteroid created the lake. One more claims it to be the crater of a long-extinct volcano.

The palace of the Ashanti monarch, West Africa’s largest cultural hub, is located in Kumasi city, the former capital of the Ashanti kingdom and the current administrative headquarters of the Ashanti people. Its location amid lush, rolling hills and the presence of a sizable central market rivalling any in Africa further serve to enhance its allure.

The National Cultural Center, the city’s main attraction, is located 10 minutes walk west of the market. The vast complex houses a fascinating Ashanti history museum, a well-liked library, a top-notch craft store, and an exhibition hall. There are drumming and traditional dance classes offered. The fake golden stool that was constructed to deceive the British, who heard that the actual Golden Stool housed the power of the Ashanti empire and asked to see it, is one of the centre’s more intriguing displays. Years passed before they realized the trick. Only on unusual occasions is the actual stool brought out from storage at Manhyia Palace. Not even the monarch is permitted to sit on it, and it is never permitted to touch the ground because it is considered to be so precious. The museum has a picture of it.

Kumasi city

Heading to the zoological gardens, with its magnificent grounds and slightly gloomy zoo — think caged chimpanzees playing with shattered beer bottles — is one alternative if you’re trying to escape the heat in the city. Crocodiles and porcupines roam freely, so be careful where you step. The Anokye Sword protrudes from the earth exactly where the Golden Stool is said to have descended from the heavens to signify the beginning of the Ashanti people, half a kilometre to the west. The Ashanti kingdom will supposedly vanish if the sword is ever drawn.

The residence of the supreme Ashanti king is Manhyia Palace, sometimes referred to as Asantehene’s Palace. The palace is frequently a surprise to visitors because Ashanti rulers have never lived in opulence. If you bring a present and make a polite request, you might be allowed to meet the current monarch, who resides in a more modern palace next to the ancient one. You may also try to show there during one of the two Adae Festivals, which are held every 42 days and are when the king’s subjects come to honour him.

Craftsmen that specialize in arts like goldsmithing, wood carving, fabric printing, and weaving may be found in the communities surrounding Kumasi. For kente fabric, head to Bonwire; for ceramics, visit Pankrono; for woodcarving, visit Ahwiaa; and for adinkra cloth, head to Ntonso. The most convenient ways to get to any of the craft villages are private taxis and tro-tros.

Despite being more than 250 kilometres northwest of the city, Kumasi city is Ghana’s second-largest traffic centre, so getting there and leaving won’t be a problem. There are numerous flights each week as well as buses, trains, taxis, and tro-tro services to Accra and Tamale.

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