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Accra: Africa's Modern Metropolis

Posted: 19th January 2015 16:28

In days past, Accra served as Cape Coast’s replacement as the capital of the British Gold Coast.   However, this city has journeyed a long way since then and now the 19th century architecture of the colonial period stands paradoxically in the shadows of the futuristic skyscrapers that structure the skyline of Ghana’s current capital.  This modern metropolis is Ghana’s commercial and industrial centre, boasting an abundance of shopping and partying opportunities as well as offering some of the tastiest culinary delights in the country.  The constant heat and humidity combined with the clattering sounds and pungent scents can certainly prove too much for some, but this city is the clockwork behind the nation and once you have acclimatised; an authentic and distinctive Ghanaian experience awaits. 

Among the oldest districts in the city of Accra is Jamestown.  The town emerged around the 17th Century, British James Fort and the colonial handiwork is still evident amid the ramshackle streets of the remains of what is now, primarily, a simple fishing village.  But don’t be fooled by appearances, as Jamestown is brought to life by the vibrant inhabitants and their inherent sense of community and the area pulls in a wealth of tourists who are keen to discover the remnants of Africa’s colonial past.  Silhouetted against the waterfront skyline is the Jamestown lighthouse, which was originally built in 1871 by the British and was replaced by the current structure in the 1930’s.  From the top, visitors will benefit from panoramic coastal views which stretch up to 16 nautical miles.

Visitors to Ghana can also be found congregating in Accra’s Black Star Square.  As the second largest city square in the world, after Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the area has more than enough grandeur to play host to all of the major national public gatherings and festivals.   In particular, the Independence Day parade that falls of the 6th March.  The square was originally commissioned in honour of a visit from Queen Elizabeth II and homes a statue of a soldier which was erected in memorial of all of the Ghanaians who lost their lives whilst fighting for independence.

To gain a taste of contemporary Ghanaian life, head in to central Accra in search of the renowned Makola Market place.  As you weave through the maze of clothes, shoes, tools, and medicines, make sure to look out for the locally handcrafted jewellery before stopping off to sample some delicious local delicacies.  

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