Manhyia Palace: The Official Residence of the King of the Ashanti Kingdom

The Manhyia Palace is the official residence of the Asantehene, king of the Ashanti people

Located in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, the Manhyia Palace is the official residence of the Asantehene, king of the Ashanti people.

It serves as the administrative center for the Asantehene and the seat of Ashanti governance. The palace is not only a royal residence but also a place where important traditional and cultural ceremonies take place.

How the Old Palace of the Asantehene became a museum

The old palace of the Asantehene was constructed by the British in 1925. It came in the aftermath of the Third Anglo-Ashanti War (1874), which saw the Ashanti Kingdom (i.e. Asanteman) lock horns with the British over a number of coastal territories, including Elmina. Supported by West Indian and some African troops, the British secured victory over the Ashanti, ransacking and burning down the Ashanti capital, Kumasi. One of the buildings that were torched by the British forces was the old Manhyia Palace. A few decades later, during the War of the Golden Stool (1900), the palace was destroyed by the British, cementing the British earlier declaration of the Ashanti kingdom to be part of the Gold Coast colony.

After more than two decades in exile in Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean, Asantehene Prempeh I (reign: 1888-1931) was allowed to return to Asanteman in 1923. As the king had no suitable royal residence, the British built the current palace for him in 1925.

It must be noted that the Asante paid for the cost of building the palace. In 1995, the palace was converted into a museum in 1995. The Asantehene, Opoku Ware II (reign: 1970-1999) moved into a new palace.

Manhyia Palace Museum

The original Manhyia Palace was constructed in 1925 but was later expanded and renovated. The Manhyia Palace Museum was established within the palace complex in 1995 to showcase and preserve the rich heritage and history of the Ashanti Kingdom. The museum exhibits a collection of artifacts, regalia, historical documents, photographs, and artworks that highlight the traditions, customs, and accomplishments of the Ashanti people.

Visitors to the Manhyia Palace Museum can explore the various rooms, including the Asantehene’s living quarters, the war room displaying weaponry and battle gear, the state rooms, and the throne room. The museum offers guided tours where visitors can learn about the Ashanti Kingdom’s history, the significance of the palace, and the role of the Asantehene in Ashanti society.

Did you know…?

  • Manhyia Palace and the associated museum are important cultural landmarks in Ghana, attracting visitors interested in Ashanti history and traditions. They provide an opportunity to gain insight into the Ashanti Kingdom’s past and its enduring cultural legacy.
  • In February 2023, famous British actor of Ghanaian heritage Idris Elba paid a visit to the Manhyia Palace. The British actor, who starred in critically acclaimed works like “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (2013), “The Wire” (2002-2004), and “American Gangster” (2007), attended the first Akwasidae Festival of the year. He also paid a courtesy call on the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and Asantehemaa Nana Konada Yiadom III.

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