City (pop., 2000: metro. area, 1,170,270), south-central Ghana. A 17th-century Asante king chose the site for his capital and conducted land negotiations under a kum tree, which gave the town its name. Located on north-south trade routes, it became a major commercial centre. The British gained control of the city in 1874. It is called the “Garden City of West Africa” and remains the seat of Asante kings. Its central market is one of the largest in western Africa. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (1951) is located there.
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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 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.
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 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 .
Homowo is an annual festival which celebrated by the Gaspeaking people. It is said to be originated during a period of "great famine which was eventually followed by a bumper harvest of grain and fish" (Wiafe, New Internationalist). The word literally means "hooting at hunger".
Leading up to the festival, Kumasi faces several restrictionssuch 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.
Please note that, the information on festivals for Kumasi is misleading. Homowo is a festival celebrated by the gas and not Ashantis. All the information given are true for Accra and not Kumasi. Rather the Ashantis celebrates Akwasidee
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 skepticism by commuters, but have increased in popularity.
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