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Asante Traditional Buildings

Author elsslots
Admin
#1 | Posted: 3 Mar 2010 12:39 | Edited by: elsslots 
Last week I tried to visit the Asante Traditional Buildings WHS. Due to the scarce information on the Unesco website, it is not easy to find out what or where they are.

Below are my findings that I have collected during and in preparation of this trip. Thanks to Solivagant for the first research!

How many locations are included?
The Advisory Body Evaluation has names of 12 locations.
The Bradt Travel Guide mentions "10 (UNESCO) inscribed shrines", as well does the on site exhibition at Besease Shrine and this semi-official website: http://ashantibuildings.org/.
The original nomination document by Ghana (dated 1978) names 13 locations!

Which locations are included?
The 13 locations of the original nomination are:
1. Abirim
2. Abetifi
3. Adwenease
4. Akokoanbong
5. Asawasi
6. Asenemanso
7. Bodwease
8. Besease
9. Darkwa-Gyakye
10. Kentekrono
11. Patakro
12. Saamang
13. Obomeng

The AB evaluation has the same list, minus Besease. It sometimes uses a slightly different spelling for the sites, and has an unexplained (2) behind Patakro.
Bradt etc. names a subset of the 13 above, including Besease.

So what happened to the original 13? Has the number of designated locations been reduced to 12 or even 10 by ICOMOS or the WHC? Besease seems the odd one out, but it is also the most prominent and accessible example of the architectural style (and the only one still with a traditional thatched roof, as far as I'm aware). It could even be a typo in the AB evaluation.

Where are they and what can be seen?
Abirim - No info in Bradt at all. But there are photos of "Abirem Temple" at http://www.flickr.com/photos/imknowmadic2/sets/72157601506642446/ (only the first 7 pics).
Its location is on the Maplandia map http://www.maplandia.com/ghana/ashanti/kwabre/abirem/ . It appears to be virtually in Kumasi (NE) near the place of Pankron shown on the Bradt map of Greater Ashanti

Abetifi - No info in Bradt. The Maplandia map shows a place called Abetefi a fair way east of Kumasi on the road to Accra http://www.maplandia.com/ghana/eastern/abefiti/abetifi/ .I found this photo too http://www.flickr.com/photos/imknowmadic2/2653074403/ . As it is called "Kwahu.....Abetifi " I think this does indeed confirm that the place is in the Kwahu area NE of Nkawkaw

Adwenease - Presumably is what is called "Edwanase" in Bradt?? Described as Kusia Kwame Shrine on page 317. Photos are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/imknowmadic2/sets/72157601506642446/ (a group of pics almost at the end of this page, use the mouseover function of your browser to see the text).

Akokoanbong - No info - could this be "Apiakrom"??

Asawase - The Fetish house is described in FULL detail in this 1971 ICOMOS document here http://www.international.icomos.org/monumentum/vol8/vol8_5.pdf . This document describes its location as "The village of Asawasi is situated near Ejisu which is a larger village some eleven miles from Kumasi on the Kumasi-Accra Highway. Asawasi lies about 2 1/2 miles off the higway and is accessible from Ejisu by an untarred road." Due to its geographical location, it can be presumed that this is "Besease". However, the photos and description do not match with the current reality of Besease (which has very steep roofs, and no round arches)

Asenmaso - Presumably what is called "Asenemaso" in Bradt - West of Kumasi. Described on page 312.

Besease - located just east of Ejisu (20 km from Kumasi), is now kind of a museum (though with a fetish priest). See my trip report at http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/ashanti.html

Bogyease - Presumably what is called "Bodwease" in Bradt. Situated quite a long way NE of Kumasi beyond Effiduase and described on page 321. See http://ashantibuildings.org/heritage.php?id=2 for pics and info.

Darkwa Jachie - Presumably what is called "Aduko Jachie" in Bradt as it is situated near a village called "Jachie". Photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/imknowmadic2/sets/72157601506642446/?page=2 (use the mouse over to see which ones).

Kentenkrono - Presumably is what is called "Kentikronu" in Bradt (and on Touring Ghana - http://www.touringghana.com/html/ashantiregion.html ) - situated close to Kumasi due east near Royal Basin hotel

Patokro - Situated 85kms south of Kumasi near the gold mining town of Obuasi -described on page 289 in Bradt. See http://ashantibuildings.org/heritage.php?id=3 for pics and intro. Or at http://www.flickr.com/photos/imknowmadic2/sets/72157601506642446/ (the final 6 of this group of photos).

Obomeng - no info. The only "Obomeng" mentioned is a town near to Nkawkaw a fair way due east of Kumasi on the road to Accra.

Saamang - Just NE of Kumasi. See http://ashantibuildings.org/heritage.php?id=4 for pics and intro.

Author meltwaterfalls
Registered
#2 | Posted: 4 Jul 2011 07:33 
I somehow missed this posting and was just about to ask for this exact information. Thanks Els and Solivagant for doing the hard work.

Author Solivagant
Registered
#3 | Posted: 4 Jul 2011 07:56 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I was at Besease in Nov last year (and have't yet got round to completing my half finished review!!).
This is undoubtedly the easiest to view from Kumasi. The old man who is "guardian" (the same guy as in Els's photo) and can open-up isn't there all the time and will probably have to be fetched from the village somewhere but locals in shops/stalls nearby the shrine seem to know where to get him. We were warned that he might be "some (African??) time" but in our case they found him in around 10 minutes. He expects a tip on top of the entrance of course so he has good reason to come!

Depending on how much time you have you could consider getting dropped off in Ejisu to save having to come back out if you were coming in by bus from Accra to Kumasi (taxis into town run past Ejisu all the time. The shrine has a sign on the main road into Kumasi, and is set back around 200 yards on the left facing Kumasi. An hour is enough to see the shrine and have the old man "doing" his grass skirt show. As Els says the old guy doesn't speak English but a local school-boy teamed up with us to explain the libation ceremonies etc which were not really covered by the English wall signs.
Kumasi by the way is large and the traffic through the city very slow!

Author elsslots
Admin
#4 | Posted: 27 Feb 2014 12:05 
An update about this dossier : Jarek Pokrzywnicki received this brochure with a map from the Ghana Museums & Monuments Board.

http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/locationasante.jpg (click on the image to zoom in)

It shows only 10 buildings, so maybe there are only 10 designated traditional buildings after all (see http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/ashanti.html)

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