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Kumasi & the Ashanti region
The Ashanti region occupies a central place on the map of Ghana. In the heart of it lies Kumasi, the capital of the region and the second town of the country. Kumasi has almost a million inhabitants and was once the nucleus of the Ashanti kingdom, also called "the kingdom of gold". It's a city of ancient royalty and has an important cultural tradition. The centre of Kumasi is the huge market, with more then 10.000 traders, where you can buy almost everything. One of its most famous goods is kente cloth, which is quite expensive.
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Also in the centre of Kumasi is the Asantehene's Palace, residence of the Ashanti kings. The palace complex consists of the old and new palace, the king's court, the queen mother's palace, and an institute of Ashanti studies. Visits are possible throughout the week, but don't expect great luxury, because the kings have always lived in a modest way. Every 42 days the Adae festival takes place in the palace. This is the occasion when the king adorned with all his gold ornaments comes out to recieve hommage of his subchiefs and people.
The National Cultural Centre is a short walk away from the central market. Here you can see local woodcarvers, brass-smiths, kenteweavers and sculptors at work. The small Prempeh II museum of Ashanti history contains a collection of rare Ashanti objects.
Around Kumasi you can also find some places of intrest. Bonwire is a village that almost entirely exists of kente weaving. Pankrono is a pottery centre and Ahiwaa is one of the major woodcarving centres in the region. About 16 km from Kumasi is the Owabi wildlife sanctuary, where various birds and animals can be seen. The crater-lake of Bosumtwi, 38 km from Kumasi, is very popular on weekends.
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