Accra is the capital and biggest city in Ghana. It covers 173 sq km (67 sq mi), within a metropolitan area of 894 sq km (345.18 sq mi). Accra has a population of 2.3 million people (2012 estimate) whereas the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area has a population of 4 million people, making it the 11th largest metropolitan area in the African continent.
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Accra derives its name from the Akan word
nkran, meaning “ants”, in reference to the anthills found in the area. It was first settled in the 15th century by the Ga people. During the colonial period, it became a slave trading center. Various European powers built forts in and around Accra, and the city thrived on the slave trade until it was eventually abolished in 1807.
In the 19th century, the Accra area was a Danish colony. The Danes had a fort here, Fort Christianborg, also called today as Osu Castle. Built in the 1660s, it is one of the first colonial forts built by the Danish. The Danes sold Fort Christiansborg to the British in the 1850s. Over time, the British expanded their territory around Accra to form the British Gold Coast colony. In 1877, Accra replaced Cape Coast as the colonial capital.
The completion of the Accra-Kumasi railway in 1923 helped spur the growth of Accra, as it became the chief port for the export of cocoa, the main export of Ghana. Today Accra is a modern African town. It has many modern civic buildings and landmarks, among them the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the Accra International Conference Centre and other sights. The colonial forts built by the Europeans are well preserved, as is the original Ga town.
The main airport in Ghana is Kotoka International Airport (ACC). It receives flights from
Abidjan, Abuja, Addis Ababa, Amman, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Bamako, Banjul, Beirut, Cairo, Casablanca, Conakry, Cotonou, Douala, Dubai, Frankfurt, Freetown, Istanbul, Kano, Kumasi, Lagos, Lisbon, Lomé, London, Luanda, Lusaka, Madrid, Malabo, Monrovia, Nairobi, New York City, Ouagadougou, Rome, Sunyani, Takoradi, Tamale, Washington DC and Windhoek.
Places of Interest in Accra
- Independence Square
- Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop
- Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park
- Labadi Beach
- National Archives of Ghana
- National Museum
- W.E.B. DuBois Memorial Centre