Traditional Administration

The Chief or Omanhene (Edinahene) of Elmina heads the Traditional Council of the town, in which the chiefs of the different quarters of the town sit together with the Chief. In all, the chiefs of the 26 villages and hamlets, which together with the Omanhene of Elmina constitute the state or paramountcy, co-operate in the administration of the state.

A linguist and a group of Councillors (Besuonfo or Ampamfo) assist the Omanhene. Within the traditional state we find ten clans or families (Ebusua), organised along the principle of matrilineal descent. These clans are responsible for the preservation and maintenance of native institutions and communal obligations in the town. The clan heads, or Ebusua Mpanyinfo, occupy stool, which is the main symbol of a clan, because successive heads sat on the stool during their stewardship. The clans are Efinafo, Abradze, Nsona, Anona, Twidan, Abrutu, Akona, Adwenadze, Ebiradze, and Ntwea.

 Festival And Customs

The KEEA District has some unique cultural festivals, notable among them, Edina Bronya and Bakatue, and Nyeyi. These festivals attract a large number of visitors from home and abroad, including tourists from Europe and America.

Edina Bronya

The Bakatue Festival celebrates the “opening” of Benya River, and is thus closely connected to the main economic activity of fishing. Edina Bronya is also called the Elmina Christmas. Bronya is actually a Libation Day during which ancestors are remembered.

The Edina Bronya festival is connected to the annual New Year festivities, which the Elmina people celebrated together with the Dutch. It takes place from the first Thursday to Sunday of the calendar year. The traditional ceremonies preceding this observance of the festival includes the exhibition of the Aketekete war drum captured from the Fantis in 1868.

On the Wednesday before the Thursday, the No. 7 Asafo Company perform some rites in the Benya Lagoon. On the Thursday, families gather in their ancestral homes and give food and drinks to the departed in ceremonies called Akor or Akordo-korye do (i.e a place that we reunite, settle all disputes and become one, place where the living and the dead become one). It is after the Akor ceremonies that merriment starts because all citizens of the town come home. These days the weekend of that Thursday is used for a durbar of chiefs, which is also very attractive to visitors.


This is a festival celebrated to commemorate the founding of the town. It is celebrated either on the last Tuesday of June or the first Tuesday of July. The day is consecrated to the tutelary deity of Elmina called Benya. The celebration is synchronised with the last battle with the Fantis on the 26th of May 1868 and the harvest and admission of new crops into the market. The rites of this ceremony cover six weeks during which the Elmina State prohibits fishing in the Benya Lagoon and all forms of noise making and merriment in the town. Further, lying-in-state of the dead is forbidden. Fish of herrings and crops sales are also forbidden in the markets.

On each of the three Monday nights preceding the festival, fetish priests and the people assemble before the Benya Shrine for Akom play during which oracles are consulted. ( Domo, a special seasonal fetish dance at which the Benya oracle is consulted. Akom was the common fetish dance played on Sunday afternoons. It is no longer played). These exercises culminate on the sixth Tuesday when the rites reach a climax.

The ceremony itself involves feeding the supposed 77 gods in Elmina with 154 eggs and mashed yam in palm oil by throwing them into the Benya Lagoon. A cast net is used to fish from the lagoon 3 consecutive times and at the end of each round musketry is fired. To the visitors the ceremony is captivating because of the social events accompanying them. These include a ground procession, a durbar of chiefs, drumming, regattas, various other competitions, dinner parties and ball dancing.

Open Spaces And Recreation

Open spaces can generally be of two types: open spaces that are incidental, and open spaces deliberately created and safeguarded for recreation or some other purpose. Open spaces fulfil an important role in the usually crowded urban environment, such as in Elmina, Komenda Abrem Agona, Eguafo and Berase Townships. The creation and maintenance of open spaces for either recreation or for any other purpose in the district leaves much to be desired. The impact of population growth, lack of planning, and the limited enforcement of District Assembly bye-laws on illegal building activities has led to a gradual deterioration of the number and quality of open spaces in town and villages in the district.

Many areas earmarked as open spaces, some of which could be used as recreational grounds have been used for other development purposes, either as residential or business. Open spaces in towns in the district are mainly incidental, or occur as compounds or forecourts of churches and schools. Most open spaces are covered with dirt; larger spaces usually serve as community playing fields and smaller ones as community gathering areas (e.g. for funerals). Public spaces are predominantly dried, dusty, and have bare patches, where the combination of land degradation and human traffic precludes the growth of any vegetation. It would be advisable to specifically identify open spaces in the big towns as points for relaxation, upgrading the physical surfaces, introducing some vegetative cover and providing basic sanitary services.

Tourism Attractions

A Growing Economic Sector In TownElmina is a major tourist destination site in Ghana. Elmina’s importance for Ghana and the world are currently the two UNESCO World Heritage protected sites: the castle of St. George d’Elmina and Fort Coenraadsburg on St. Jago Hill. These sites attract over 100,000 tourists annually (of whom 50,000 come from abroad). Apart from the castle and fort, we find other monuments in the town, like the Asafo houses, traditional shrines, and remnants from the Dutch period (cemetery, Government Garden), and 19th and early 20th century merchants’ houses. The town can also boast of a rich culture visible in the popular festivals of Bakatue, Edina Bronya and the Pan-African Festival (Panafest).

Tourism, which is a growing economic activity in Elmina, has great potential for development and expansion, as recognised by central and regional government. At the moment tourism is limited to the beaches and the castle and fort mainly. Other possible tourist attractions in town hardly seem to attract tourists. This has much to do with the unavailability of information and infrastructure. Many tourists do not know much about the town, there is hardly any background information available, and there are hardly any facilities to rest, drink and eat apart from the main hotels. The castle has a restaurant, open during daytime, and in the town some low-price drinking spots and one newly opened cafe are available to the tourists.

As indicated before, Elmina has festivals, cultural activities and objects that attract a great number of people every year. The Edina Bronya and Edina Bakatue, the two unique glamorous festivals of the people of Elmina, are watched by thousands of people from far and near every year. The bi-annual Panafest is held in Cape Coast, but does use space in Elmina too. This festival is especially popular with African-American tourists. Accommodation and catering facilities also exist in the town. Out of ten hotels and guest houses in Elmina, two (2) are Three Star, two (2) are Two Star and the remaining six (6) are Budget facilities .

In all, the hotels can provide 631 guest rooms and 999 beds. In relation to hotel accommodation in the whole of the Central Region with Cape Coast as the centre, Elmina has a shortage of One Star and Guest house accommodation, to cater for the medium-and low-budget foreign tourist (see A.2.4). On the whole, the quality of Budget accommodation does not appeal to this type of tourist, while Two Star and Three Star are already too expensive. A total of 227 people, made up of 138 males and 89 females work directly in the hotels, Furthermore the town has six (6) restaurants, providing a total seating capacity for 292 guests. Many more people are involved in activities directly related to tourism.

Already in the 1970s, a comprehensive conservation study of Elmina was put forward including proposals for the designation of conservation areas, the restoration and rehabilitation of some structures in the core areas of the town, and the reconstruction of two historic buildings. The recommendations were set against the background of tourism development. The rehabilitation programme foresaw in the conversion of historic buildings in tourist amenities, like guesthouses, cafes, restaurants, and a tourist information centre. The plans came to nothing, because of a change in the economic and political circumstances in Ghana in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

During the last decade, the town’s cultural heritage resources and historical landscape have been increasingly affected. Population growth and lack of funding and planning have put much pressure on the historic core of the town and caused a number of privately owned historical buildings to fall into disrepair or collapse. Generally speaking, the historical buildings still standing are now in a bad state of maintenance. A USAID funded project, started in the 1990s, mainly focussed on the Castle of St. George and Fort Coenraadsburg and the old town of Cape Coast, not Elmina Town.

The development potential of cultural heritage in Elmina, including Castle, Fort, Town and Festivals, is still in existence. The holistic approach to the development of cultural heritage as an engine for tourism is widely accepted now. The road to implementation is however, still to be mapped out clearly.

Tourism Infrastructure, Services, Land, And Qualitative Environment

The increasing number of tourists visiting Elmina is putting more pressure on resources such as good drinking water; land, electricity, telecommunication and good accommodation facilities. In addition, the increasing number of tourists will generate more waste. The sewerage and drainage system of Elmina Town is in a poor state. Also tourism puts pressure on land use, creating competition on land for recreation, settlement, farming and livestock production, commerce, fishing, forestry, and processing and manufacturing industries.

The Accra-Biriwa section of the Accra-Takoradi highway needs prompt attention to be upgraded into a good First Class road in the country. The road is in a very bad state and poses great danger to road users. Again, telephone facilities must be expanded in the town to cater for the needs of both tourists and citizens. Sand-winning along the beaches and the use of beaches, as public toilets need to be controlled. The Benya Lagoon and major drains in the town need to be cleaned up to allow for a successful development of tourism in Elmina.

In general one can say that the infrastructure for tourism in Elmina Town is highly inadequate. Apart from the above mentioned problems with regard to land use, sanitation, and communication, the service level of the town is lacking on a large number of essential points. Added to that, the awareness and sensitivity of local people towards tourism, as a source of income is limited to begging by young boys plying the streets, and a number of small kiosks outside the castle selling tourist souvenirs.

Summarising the above and adding to it, the list includes (in random order):

•Electricity supply (erratic)

•Water supply (problematic in the dry season)

•National road link Accra-Biriwa (road in very bad state and dangerous)

•Local road system (no pedestrian walkways, over burdened with traffic)

•Restaurant facilities (qualitative and quantitative)

•Hotel facilities at the lower middle and middle (One Star, Two Star) levels

•Sanitation issues (beaches, town)

•Primary Health Care (general practitioner on call / adequately staffed local clinic)

•Shopping facilities catering for tourists

•Information centres, sign posting and tour guides

•Beach access and beach facilities

Threats To Tourism Development

Although at first sight they do not seem to have a direct relationship, there is a direct link between the outbreak of epidemics and diseases and tourism. It is therefore in the interest of the people of Elmina and all stakeholders in tourism development to ensure a healthy environment in the town.

Health is the tourist’s prime worry and an outbreak of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, and malaria will negatively affect the number of tourists visiting the town. Dominican Republic in the Caribbean provides a good example for this where tourism figures dropped drastically after several outbreaks of cholera and dysentery some years ago. Therefore the poor sanitary environment exhibited by poor drainage, improper disposal of solid waste, defecating along the beaches and choked gutters is a major threat to tourism development.

Another major threat to tourism development is the harassment of tourists by children for money, gifts and exchange of addresses. Also petty crimes such as pick pocketing and snatching of bags are on the ascendency. The biggest threat, however, is the underdevelopment of tourism potential. Elmina town has much more to offer than the fort and castle and (polluted) beaches.

Tourism Development - Merits And Demerits

Generating employment opportunities for local people in their own community is one of the major challenges facing Elmina in the direct future. Tourism can be a major factor in this process. Increasing numbers of tourists will not only create more employment; it will also generate general revenue for government, organisations, and the private sector. Although the potential economic contribution of tourism is well known and recognised in Elmina, it is not fully developed.In contrast to the merits of tourism, it should be recognised that tourism can also have a negative effect on development, it is therefore important that tourism is well managed and integrated in the local culture and environment. For Elmina, sustainabfe tourism development encourages an understanding of the impact of tourism on the natural, cultural, and human environment.

Tourism generates local employment both directly in the tourism sector and in various support and resource management sectors. However at the moment tourism in Elmina is limited to the Castle and the main hotels and beach resorts. It is therefore necessary to stimulate tourists to come into town and spend money in order to generate employment for the citizens of Elmina. Establishing restaurants and bars, having arts and crafts shops and creating small museums could do this but also by training tour guides who can take tourists through town (for a fee).

Sustainable tourism development seeks decision- making among all segments of the society, including local populations, so that tourism and other resource users can co-exist. It incorporates planning and zoning, which ensure tourism development appropriate to the carrying capacity of the ecosystem and local culture. Tourism stimulates improvements to local transportation, communication and other basic community infrastructure. This is a basic requirement for increasing and improving tourism in Elmina from which residents also will benefit if the improvement of services will not be limited to the traditional tourist areas only.

Tourism creates recreational facilities, which can be used by local communities, as well as domestic and international visitors. It also encourages and helps pay for the preservation of archaeological sites and historic building and districts. Cultural tourism enhances local community esteem and provides the opportunity for greater understanding and communication among peoples of diverse backgrounds. Environmentally sustainable tourism demonstrates the importance of natural and cultural resources to a community’s economic and social well being and can help preserve them.

At this moment Elmina does not benefit enough from the tourism industry. It is only directly affected by the negative impacts of tourism. The District Assembly has to collect the waste tourists generate without be (financially) compensated for it. Roads are being used more intensively and extra pressure is put on services (Water, Electricity etc). If not properly managed it is possible that potential negative aspects such as:
• The high demand for goods and services in the destination areas and the high spending pattern resulting in an increase in the cost of living in the destination sites.
• Pollution of the environment and increasing the pressure on land and water resources.

The Environmental Setting

This chapter describes the environmental setting of Elmina and is focussing on the assets (such as tourism, cultural heritage, water) and possible hazards such as pollution and flooding. This is done because the environment offers opportunities and constraints for all types of (development) activities as described.

Tourism Resources

Cultural heritage is the tangible and intangible evidence of human history over a period of time. Cultural heritage can be very instrumental to attract tourists and is therefore seen as a tool for economic tourist development. This chapter highlights basic issues and some problems of the movable and immovable cultural heritage of Elmina.

Elmina As A Major Tourist Destination In Ghana

Elmina is an ancient and historic town; the built environment of the historic district accommodates historic sites and rich social and cultural activities. The town of Elmina is a major tourist attraction and has a varied collection of movable and immovable cultural heritage. This comprises a fort, a castle, old merchant houses, traditional buildings (Asafo Shrines), the Dutch Cemetery, historic and religious buildings, cultural landscape, artefacts and activities like traditional drumming, dancing, funerals and festivals.

Elmina’s strong point as a tourism destination is its history and architecture. Elmina’s cultural heritage dates back to the 15th Century when the Portuguese first landed on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. They built the Castle of St. George d’Elmina and strongly influenced the growth of the town of Elmina. After 1637 the Dutch gave shape to the town, with more buildings, like Fort Coenraadsburg on St. Jago Hill, defence works on the perimeters of the town, a Government Garden, monumental cemetery, public buildings, and private houses. In the British period after 1872, this was added to by local residents, in the form of typical early 20th-century merchants’ houses.

The conservation and management of this historic core in which we find World Heritage Sites like the castle of St. George (the oldest castle on the coast of West Africa - built in 1482 – and the oldest European building in Sub-Saharan Africa) and Fort Coenraadsburg on St. Jago Hill will go a long way to encourage tourism-based economic activities and ensure the sustainability of these properties. However, the monuments should be looked upon in their environment, i.e. the town as a whole.

This approach was first taken in the 1970s by Bech and Hyland in their conservation study of Elmina, and is since widely accepted.The town itself provides the environmental context for cultural heritage management and tourism. In this approach, the constraints of Elmina in general (sanitation, erosion, flooding, road system, poor economy, etc.) also become the constraints of tourism, and even conservation of the built cultural heritage in itself.

The Interaction Between Conservation And Tourism

Tourism has become an important and fast growing sector of the economy and generates substantial income, foreign exchange and employment. Tourists often come from different cultural backgrounds, other than those of the host destination. The primary motivation for travel is an attraction to other cultures. In an increasingly competitive international tourism market, it is the uniqueness, authenticity and the quality of the tourism product that influences the attractiveness of a place for tourists. The people, culture, traditional festivals, monuments such as, the castle, the fort, historic buildings, Asafo Company posts, churches, cemeteries, landscapes and activities in public places all form part of the tourism product.

Apart from the fort, the Castle and the Dutch Cemetery, which fall under the responsibility of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, all other monuments are managed and maintained by individual families or public-private institutions like churches. Although, some areas of the Castle including the upper terraces around the great courtyard are deteriorating very fast and need urgent attention, the Castle and fort are generally relatively well conserved and in fair condition. Conservation measures for the other monuments need to be seriously looked at.

Although it may not be feasible to conserve all the existing structures, some good examples should be conserved in order to safeguard them from damage or collapse. Tourism helps to justify and pay for the conservation and management of these sites.Tourism is an essential part of national economy and can be an important factor in development. Tourism can capture the economic characteristics of the heritage and harness these for conservation by generating funding, educating the community and influencing policy. The cultural heritage and living cultures are major tourism attractions in Elmina. Poorly-managed tourism and related developments threaten the physical nature, integrity and significant characteristics.

The culture and lifestyles of the town are also degraded, along with the visitor’s experience of the place. Tourism can bring benefits to the people of the community and provide important means and motivation for them to care for and maintain their heritage and cultural practices. The involvement and co-operation of the community, conservators, tourism operators, property owners, policy makers and heritage managers is necessary to achieve a sustainable tourism industry and enhance the protection of heritage resources for future generations.

Competing Interests Between Tourism And Residents

Increase in commercial activities that go hand in hand with increasing tourism might be a threat to the original residents of Elmina. Some tourists and the way they dress and behave may sometimes offend the residents and influence the youth. Congestion in the town and poor sanitation gives a bad impression about the town and reduce the quality of the tourist’s experience. The residents however lack education on what significant roles they can play in the tourist industry. For example, children harassing tourists for addresses and gifts can also become rather embarrassing.

Taxi drivers do not realise how important a good service attitude affects a good experience for a tourist. Activities like the sale and use of drugs and prostitution are not socially acceptable by many tourists. Although they are not serious problems in Elmina, there is the need to control them in order to ensure that they do not create social or health problems or an undesirable tourism image of Elmina.

Management Characteristics

There are several interested and affected parties directly involved when it comes to tourism in Elmina, The tourism industry is presently a responsibility of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB). The Ghana Tourist Board provides the National Tourism Development Policy that includes the framework for developing integrated and sustainable tourism in Ghana.

KEEA District Assembly is responsible for the Elmina District. It is responsible for the issuing of development and building permits and the monitoring of the building process, as well as for the provision and maintenance of the physical infrastructure of drainage and sanitation. They are also responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of roads, public open spaces, and for garbage collection. The KEEA is also empowered to institute local legislation to protect and to define conservation areas, to control development in those areas and to administer the control process. The Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) is a statutory organisation, solely responsible for Ghana’s cultural heritage.

The GMMB’s function is the sustainable conservation, interpretation and presentation of Ghana’s cultural heritage for the education, appreciation and understanding of Ghanaians and the world at large. The vision of the GMMB is simply, preserving and interpreting the past for the future. Both GMMB and KEEA are hardly benefiting from the revenue brought in by tourists. Although both are expected to maintain and manage the environment they are not compensated to implement this (additional) task. Tax from tourism and entry fees paid by tourists at the castle are not coming to these institutions but are collected by national bodies and contribute the consolidated fund of the Ministry of Finance, from which the GMMB receives a subvention.

This subvention roughly matches the total income from gate fees at the castles in Cape Coast and Eimina, but the bulk of the subvention goes towards payment of salaries and related personnel costs, not towards the maintenance and improvement of the monuments themselves. For more details on the income of GMMB please refer to Appendix 3.5 (summary of government subvention to GMMB for Central and Western Region from 1991 to 2000 and summary of the entrance fees taken at Eimina and Cape Coast between 1991 and 2000.

Major Tourist Attraction In Elmina

St. George’s Castle

On the 19th of January, 1482, King Joao of Portugal sent a fleet of 12 ships with building materials to Elmina. The fleet was under the command of Don Diego d’Azambuja, who secured a plot from king Kwamena Ansa of Elmina to build the St. George’s Castle. The area given was covered by the rock Kokobo, where there was also the abandoned bastion de France, a fort built by the French in 1383. The Portuguese who built the St. George’s Castle occupied it for 155 years. During this period Christopher Colombus anchored in Elmina for some days on his expedition to discover America in 1492.

It is on the site of the St. George’s Castle that the first Catholic mass was celebrated on Elmina soil leading to the incorporation of a catholic church in the St George’s Castle. During the Portuguese period the St. George’s Castle was used for trading in Gold. On the 27th of August, 1637, the Dutch defeated the Portuguese and dislodged them from the St. George’s Castle. The Dutch expanded the Castle. Trade was still centred on gold until the Castle became important for the slave trade, which sent many Africans to the Americas. On the 6th of April, 1872, the Dutch sold their possessions including the St. Georges Castle to the British, much to the disappointment of the people of Elmina.

The events of it led to the deportation of King Kobena Gya to the Sierra Leone for opposing the British take-over. The St. George’s Castle is famous for its unique architecture and,strength of a building.. Today, the Castle is open to the public on admission charges and houses a small museum. Exhibits found in the museum are mainly on the culture, tradition and environment of the people of Elmina.The Castle is the most visited site in Elmina. In the year 2000, the Castle attracted a total of 101,322 thousand visitors, (see charts) Fort Coenraadsburg on St. Jago Hill The site of Fort Coenraadsburg in Elmina was originally the place where the Portuguesebuilt the St. James Church in Elmina.

The chief of Eguafo was baptised in this church in 1482. When the Dutch defeated the Portuguese and dislodged them from the St. George’s Castle in 1637 the Dutch transformed the nuns of the St. James Church into Fort Coenraadsburg. A garrison of soldiers were placed in and around this fort to offset any attacks. Fort St. Jago is unique for its architectural beauty and the panorama it offers over almost the whole township of Elmina.

The Traditional Buildings (Asafo Posts)

The Asafo is the military organisation of the Elmina State. The Asafo Posts are the meeting places of the members of the Asafo or technically the headquarters or barracks of the various units of the Asafo. There are 10 Asafo Companies. The Asafo Post of three of these companies arouses the visitor’s interest. These are the Wobil (Number 4), Akyemfo (Number 2) and Abese (Number 5) Asafo Post. These Posts are buildings with images erected in such a manner to depict the roles and achievements of the Asafo Companies. The images include the statues of Adam and Eve, policemen, airplanes and gunboats. The Number 5 represents the navy wing of the military.

The No. 5 is a ship with sailors. The number 2 represents the air force and advance/spy party. The Post has aeroplanes and eagles to depict that role. The number 4 represents the infantry and the beginning and nucleus of the army. Although the outside of an Asafo Post is an imposing presence and serves as a rallying point for the meetings and rituals, the inside is simply used to store the company’s drums and flags.These buildings could easily be used as museums. Tourists could pay an entry fee and learn about the companies’ history, see pictures and flags and possibly buy souvenirs and or refreshment. The revenue generated could be used to employ young members of the companies and maintain the building.

The Dutch Cemetery

The Dutch Cemetery had its main vault constructed in 1806. Meant to be a final resting place for Dutch settlers and their descendants, it became the place for burying important people in Elmina. It is a place where European government administrators, traditional rulers of Elmina and Church Missionaries were buried. About 87 graves are identifiable in that cemetery now. The first Vice Chancellor of the Kwome Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, R.P Baffour, a native of Elmina, and a major benefector of the town, was the last to be buried in the cemetery in 1993. Today, the Dutch Cemetery is a National Monument under the jurisdiction of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board.

The Government Gardens

This used to be a splendid park established by the Dutch situated at Nyanta area in Elmina. Unfortunately the Gardens are no more due to neglect. Yet in it stands a very significant Watchtower dating from the times that the Dutch were in Elmina.

The St. Joseph’s Hill

The St. Joseph’s Hill was originally known as the Schomerus Hill, named after a former Dutch governor in Elmina. When it was the Schomerus Hill, there stood fort Schomerus on it. A garrison of soldiers was also stationed in and around this fort to protect the Dutch from attacks.The transfer of Dutch properties to the English in 1872 made the presence of the garrison unnecessary. The Catholic Church applied for this hill and it was given for the construction of a church building in 1882.

Materials from the ruins of the Fort Schomerus was used by the Catholic Church to construct the following historical buildings on the Schomerus Hill, the oldest Catholic Church building in Ghana (1890), the first and oldest Catholic mission house and seminary in Ghana (1886), first Catholic Girls’ school and convent in Ghana (1889) and the first Catholic Boys’ school in Ghana.

Shrines Of Deities

Two shrines arouse interest. The first is the shrine of Benya, the titular god of Elmina. Situated on the bank of the river, Benya, this shrine is made of a dome of thatch. Ordinarily the shrine may not command attention, but it does so during the main festival of the town, Bakatue, when the activities in connection with the festival are performed before this shrine.The Ntona Shrine (or St. Anthony Shrine) is situated at Bantoma. Although unimposing, it has a historical and spiritual significance.

The St. Anthony or Ntona Shrine contains a statue of St. Anthony, which the Portuguese left behind when the Dutch displaced them in Elmina in 1637. It was worshiped as a deity, using mimicry of catholic rites.The strange thing about this deity is that native priests become dispossessed when they go near this shrine. Privately-owned historic dwellings (19th Century merchant houses) The private homes of the people of Elmina made Elmina the first town of real architectural significance in the Gold Coast (now Ghana). The building boom of which the remnant are still visible along Liverpool Street, started in the 1840s.

Rich merchants built houses for themselves and their families.These Buildings were constructed with rocks and lime plaster. Also imported bricks from Europe were used for door and window arches and cornices.The ground floors of the merchant houses were used for storing goods. Today, they are used as shops. The upper floors served as residences. Other parts of the buildings or extensions were used as dwellings for extended families, servants and domestic slaves. Historical dwellings in Elmina comprise a major potential tourist attraction and can also be used as tourist facilities.


The Methodist Chapel at Chapel Square, together with the adjacent Nana Etsiapa Hall, were constructed in the 1850s and 1860s, on the initiative of a group of local Euro-African families, lead by women. There was a strong desire among the local elite to establish a missionary protestant church that was separate from the Dutch church in the Castle.

With money of their own and a subvention from the Dutch King William III, the church was built. In general agreement one chose to make it a Methodist church, as the Methodist already had a smoothly running operation on the Gold Coast and were also present in Elmina with a guest house and a small private chapel at Akotobinsin. Since its inception, the Methodist Chapel stands as a landmark in Elmina Town. The interior shows plaques with the names of important Elminians, many of whom bear Dutch names.

The Coman-Catholic Church of St. Joseph, on Mission Hill, was started in the 1880s by missionaries from the Society of Missionaries into Africa (SMA). The Catholic Mission in Elmina was the first of its sort in West-Africa. The Catholic Mission attracted many Elminians, as the population saw the church as a viable alternative to the Methodist Church, which was more and more identified with the unwished-for British rule. The church, mission buildings, and school stand as an historical landmark on St. Joseph’s Hill. The complex also houses a small historical museum.



Date Created : 11/21/2017 2:54:07 AM