Kumasi is located in the Rain Forest Region of Ghana and is popularly known as "The Garden City" because of its many beautiful species of flowers and plants. It is the capital of the Ashanti Region and is the second-largest city in Ghana, West Africa. Located in the south-central part of the country, Kumasi is approximately 300 miles north of the Equator and 100 miles north of the Gulf of Guinea. The city is located on the Bosumtwe River. While the terrain surrounding Kumasi is relatively flat, the countryside is lush with tropical vegetation.
With over 2.5 million citizens, the city spans a radius of 18 to 20 miles. The population is about 80 percent Christian and 20 percent Muslim. Trade, commerce, farming, and mining are leading industries in Kumasi. In addition, its region boasts a rich cultural heritage particularly evident in smaller surrounding towns. Other riches abound, too, with wealth derived from substantial gold deposits and agricultural products. Cocoa and high-quality hardwood are major exports.
Kumasi is also home to numerous educational entities, including the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, one of Ghana's foremost institutions of higher learning. English is the official language and the native language is Asante Twi.
A relatively young city, Kumasi was founded in the early 19th century by King Osei Tutu. The king named the city after the kum tree, which he planted as a symbol of victory for the Asante Empire over the British. In fact, the Asante Region has been independent since about 1875, even though Ghana itself declared independence in 1957. A descendant of King Osei Tutu, Nana Opoku-Ware, is Asantehene (king) of the Asante Region today, receiving allegiance from the people within the democracy of Ghana.
The Asantehene resides in Kumasi, and his home, the Manhyia Palace, is one of the city's most spectacular sights. Legend has it that a golden stool in the palace descended from heaven. In it is embodied the spirit of the Asante nation. Near the palace grounds is a copper sword, which is said to have been driven into the ground by an ancient priest (Okomfo Anokye) and which, it is said, no one has been able to remove by any means.
Along with such history and legend, Kumasi is a fast-growing, contemporary city. Also, it is filled with avid sports enthusiasts, who are especially proud of their soccer team. Called Kumasi Asante Kotoko, the team has won numerous national and continental awards.