Kumasi

Kumasi is the capital city of the Ashanti region of Ghana. Because of the varied plant life in the area, it is known as "The Garden City."

It is located in the south-central part of the country, about 250 km (by road) northwest of Accra. Lake Bosumtwi, the largest natural lake in Ghana, is located approximately 32 km south of Kumasi.

With a population of 1,517,000 (2005, source: United Nations Population Division), Kumasi is the second-largest city in the country. The largest ethnic group is the Ashanti, but other ethnic groups are growing in size. Approximately 80% Christians and 20% Muslims, with a smaller number of adherents to traditional beliefs.

The city exists in the forest region of West Africa, but there is evidence that the area around Kumasi has been kept cleared since the Neolithic Period. The city rose to prominence in 1695 when it became capital of the Ashanti Confederacy due to the activities of its ruler Osei Tutu. The ruler of Kumasi, known as the Kumasehene, also served as ruler of the Confederacy. Parts of the city, including the Royal Palace, were destroyed by British troops in the Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War of 1874. It remains a royal city, although since all of Ghana was declared independent in 1957, the role of king has been mainly symbolic. The city holds an important place in the history of the Ashanti people, as legend claims that it was here Okomfo Anokye received the Golden stool, an embodiment of the soul of the Asanti nation.

Due to large gold deposits that have been mined in the area, Kumasi has been among the wealthier cities in Ghana. Today's major exports are hardwood and cocoa. Kumasi has 50% of the timber industry in Ghana, with more than 4,000 employed in the business.

Features of the city include the large Kumasi Central Market, Tafo kumasi, Fort Kumasi (built by the British in 1896 to replace an Asante fort and now a museum) and the Kumasi Hat Museum. Royal Asante attractions include the Kumasi National Cultural Centre (including the Prempeh II Jubilee Museum with various Asante regalia including a reproduction of the golden stool), the Okomfo Anokye Sword, the Asantehene's Palace (built in 1972), and the Mahniya Palace, dating from 1925, now a museum.

Kumasi is also home to a zoo, and to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology of Ghana (formerly the Kumasi College of Technology).

The city's most famous son is the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan. The local football (soccer) team, the Kumasi Asante Kotoko has won several national and continental awards. Their stadium was built in 1959 and renovated in 1978, and with a seating capacity of 100,000, it's the largest in the country.

 

JOURNEYS trips that include Kumasi:

West Africa: Ghana, Togo, Benin from March 25-April 8, 2008 with Will and Joan Weber 

 

Information based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumasi

 

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