DemographicsWith a population of 1,517,000, Kumasi is the second-largest city in the country. The largest ethnic group is the Ashanti, but other ethni...
There is evidence that the area around Kumasi has been kept cleared since the Neolithic age.
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. With their 1701 victory over Denkyira (one of the Kumasi dogs) the Asante confederacy became the primary state among the Twi speaking Akan peoples.
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. The city'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. The Kaasai Industrial Area plays an important role in industry in the area. The Guinness Ghana Breweries is based there and is listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange.
Kumasi Central MarketFeatures 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 Manhiya 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 Kumasi area has one public hospital (Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, 736 beds), five public clinics and 57 private clinics (1992 figures).
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, renovated in 1978, and again in 2007 with a seating capacity of 40,000.
Leading up to the festival, Kumasi faces several restrictions such as no loud music, no drumming, no whistling after dark, and no eating yam.
On Monday, the starting week of the festival, men from three royal families in the village swipes the path between the "ancestral burial grounds and the town" (travel journal.com)
On early Tuesday morning, the restrictions placed on Kumasi are lifted. In the Tuesday afternoon, the entire town line up in the streets and "cheers and screams" as male members of royal family return, who departed in earlier morning to a walk to the sacred burial site of the ancestors in order to ask for permission for the festival to begin. (Traveljournals.net)
A Wednesday festival is set to be a remembrance day. It "belongs quaintly to an African past". (Appiah, Kwame, The Case for Contamination) This day people will "openly weep and others drink their heads out, remembering their lost departed ones". (Wiafe, New Internationalist). One of the issues,Kumasi faces, as Appiah claims, is that before king arrives, people are taking calls on cell phones, and discussing contemporary issues. Kumasi, with the effects of globalization, also have gained a lot of travelers around the world, coming to this festival.
Kumasi Railway StationKumasi is served by Kumasi Airport and railway lines to Accra and Takoradi. Because of the barrier mountain range just to the north, the rail system does not yet go further to the north.
Public transit in the city is provided by a mix of privately owned Mini-buses (known as Tro-Tros), taxis and buses. Tro-Tros are usually converted Mini-buses that run a regular, well-known route. They are cheap and frequent but often in poor repair and over-crowded. Some taxis also run regular routes, which cost more but provide for a more comfortable ride. Recently in 2002, the city introduced metro bus services, which were initially met with scepticism by commuters, but have increased in popularity.
As of 2007, Boankra Inland Port is being built about 25km away.