Gifts from Wales and the World
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Gifts from Wales and the World
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We work directly with the craftworkers who produce our hand-crafted woodcarvings, and ensure that they get a fair price for their work.

Most of the woodcarvings are made from wood found in the forests of the Ashanti Kingdom and are crafted in the city of Kumasi, the capital city of the Ashanti region. In keeping with the Ghanaian Government's support for handicrafts, the general rule is that three trees have to be planted for every one cut down for use in woodcarvings.

Former hunters are now used for conservation and the policing of these policies in the Rain Forests. In this way, environmentalists are seen as the friends, rather than enemies of local people.

Because of the varied plant life in the area, Kumasi is known as "The Garden City." It is located in the south-central part of the country, about 250 km (by road) northwest of Accra. Lake Bosumtwe, the largest natural lake in Ghana, is located approximately 32 km north of Kumasi.

Batik Cards Burkina Faso

With a population of 862,000 (2005), Kumasi is the second-largest city in the country. The largest ethnic group is the Ashanti, but other ethnic groups are growing in size. Approximately 80% Christians and 20% Muslims, with a smaller number of adherents to traditional beliefs. It is an Anglican diocesan and Roman Catholic archdiocesan see.

Kumasi is an important historical centre for Ghana. The Manhyia Palace, the seat of the King of Ashanti and members of the royal family are situated in the northern part of the city. The Palace has a courtyard and a courtroom where matters dealing with the constitution and customs are deliberated upon by the traditional council.

Visitors can get a good insight into traditional African democracy, with meetings open to the public, when they visit the courtyard. Ashanti kings have never lived in luxury, and visitors are often surprised by how sparse and unpretentious the palace is. The current king lives in a more recent palace directly behind the old one.

The city's major attraction is the National Cultural Center, a 10 minute walk west of the market. The sprawling complex encompasses a fascinating museum of Ashanti history, a popular library, an excellent crafts shop and an exhibition hall. Classes in traditional dance and drumming are available. One of the centre's more interesting exhibits is the fake golden stool used to trick the British, who'd heard that the real Golden Stool held the strength of the Ashanti empire and demanded it be brought to them.

It was decades before they discovered the ruse. The real stool is kept at Manhyia Palace and is brought out only on special occasions. It's so sacred that not even the king is allowed to sit on it, and it's never allowed to touch the ground. There's a photo of it in the museum.

In the villages around Kumasi, artisans specialise in crafts such as goldsmithing, wood carving, cloth printing and weaving. Bonwire is the place to go for kente cloth, Pankrono is best for pottery, Ahwiaa for woodcarving and Ntonso for adinkra cloth.

Half a kilometer to the west, the Anokye Sword sticks out of the ground exactly where - according to legend - the Golden Stool descended from the heavens to mark the beginning of the Ashanti people. Legend has it that if the sword is ever pulled out, the Ashanti kingdom will disappear.

Lake Bosumtwi, the largest natural lake in Ghana, is about 32 kilometres southeast of Kumasi. The Ashantis believe that the souls of their dead come to the lake to say goodbye to god called Twi. One theory says that the huge meteorite formed the lake. Another says that it is the crater of an extinct volcano.

Though it's over 250km north-west of the capital, Kumasi is Ghana's second largest traffic hub. There are several flights per week to Accra and Tamale, as well as buses, trains and taxis. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.