Tourist in the City: Accra (in Pictures)

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Accra is a growing, dynamic and increasingly diverse city, and the wealth of excellent places to see, spend free time and explore are testimony to that. In addition, these all make the city incredibly attractive to foreigners such as myself, and great spots to learn more about the city — and the country’s history and culture. I suppose one could call them “tourism spots” or merely “places of interest,” but for me, it’s definitely the neverending list of places to see and go that make Accra a forever-and-ever interesting city.
I first had the chance to visit Accra (and a few other locations in Ghana) as part of a graduate student tour of both Ghana and Nigeria. The visits to some of Accra’s most historic locations (the National Museum, the Independence Square, etc) were sort of opportunities to experience Ghana’s history secondhand – and it was much more interesting than what could be read in any textbook!  After all, it’s one thing to read about all of Ghana, it’s another thing to travel to its museums, its squares, etc and see the photos, the historic remnants first hand. This second time around in Accra, I continue my exploration of the city and its history and culture. I’ve taken a few photos for you all, so you can see what I see.

The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum

The Kwame Nkrumah Park and Mausoleum is the final resting place of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, a leader of the then-Gold Coast’s liberation movement from the British, and also the first President of the independent Republic of Ghana. Entering the site, the first thing a visitor is greeted by is blow-up reproductions of some of Dr. Nkruma’s most pivotal and influential quotations, taken from his writings and speeches, all promoting an independent, united African continent (a Pan-African movement) and the emphasis on moving forward for African countries to fulfill their potential.

The site also contains an impressive museum dedicated to exploring Dr. Nkrumah’s political career, both before, during and after his presidency, his meetings with world leaders and with his family. The museum is primarily comprised of numerous photographs of him with interesting captions and descriptions that bring his actions “to life” in many ways for the public.

Outside is a beautiful landscaped park (the day of my visit, it was the also the site for a wedding party’s beautiful photos!) complete with gorgeous water fountain featuring life-sized, bronze men playing horns (see below).

The park is also located in Accra’s central commercial area on High Street, in the same area as the metropolitan government office, the supreme court and the main office for the Bank of Ghana.

Bronze fountain at the Kwame Nkrumah Park and Mausoleum
Another shot from the Kwame Nkrumah Park and Mausoleum

Ga Mashie
The Ga are one of the indigenous groups to present-day Accra, and Ga Mashie is home to one of their major settlements. The area is full of local indigenous culture, and over time, new development has taken place to mix the older, traditional features of the area with newer ones. A case in point is the rise of boxing culture in the area (see the boxing training centre below), and today, Ga Mashie has produced some of the world’s best talent in the area of boxing.

The photo below features an intimate glimpse into a local boxing training centre, where more than 50 up-and-coming boxers train, practice and hone their skills in the hope of making a name for themselves. Quite impressive!

Boxing training center in the heart of Ga Mashie, Accra

Ussher Fort
 Ussher Fort was a Dutch-built fort during the slave trade period. During the colonial period, the fort was used to house prisoners, including the late Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president. Located on the coast in James Town, one of Accra’s most historic districts, the fort was later used to hold prisoners, but has recently been converted into a museum as part of a movement to establish and appreciate the city’s historic past. Tourism is a fast-growing industry in Accra an Ussher Fort has come to be a major tourism site. The photo below depicts the view from the edge of Ussher Fort. Later photos depict views from inside the fort, which has become dilapidated and rundown, but still an impressive testament to the past.

View of the Atlantic Coast, taken from Ussher Fort in James Town, Accra
View of the Ussher Fort chapel, located in the premises.
View from inside the Ussher Fort in the holding cell area.