Castles of Ghana


European Project

The Castles of Ghana
Historico-architectural research on the castles of Ghana,

their preservation and improvement

2004 - 2005




The purpose of the project was the development of a precious and scarcely known cultural heritage: the castles and the fortresses of Ghana, historically relevant architectural estates appointed “World Heritage” by Unesco.
The coast along Ghana is characterised by a relevant presence of fortified structures built by the Europeans between the end of the XV century and the begin of the XVIII century. It served as a base for commercial activities, related first to the gold deposits and then to the overseas slave trade. These castles disclose their architectonic European culture but, at the same time, they bear the marks of the brutalities they were used for:  “slave storehouses”.
The project was aimed at realising an innovative interdisciplinary research (historical-archival and technical-architectural) upon 3 of these forts (Butre, Anomabu e Aximin) in order to let Europeans and extra-Europeans know the existence of these buildings, their artistic and architectural importance by promoting an historic, cultural and anthropological study concerning the events that characterised the contact between Europeans and Africans in the past centuries.
This goal was reached thanks to the help of experts who worked, following their specific expertises, both in archival research for data retrieval and through a field research in Ghana: this was carried out by a multidisciplinary équipe made up of architects, historians, art historians.
The final stage of the project tried to outline possible conservation courses of action and to increase the skills of the people working for the Ghana Museum and Monuments Board concerning historical knowledge, conservation, management, heritage development and improve the abilities of the local technicians involved. The results of the historical-architectural research have been published in the book: The Castels of Ghana. Axim Butre Anomabu. Historical and architectural research on three Ghanaian forts.


Project Coordinator
RC - Ricerca e Cooperazione (Italia)

Associazione Giovanni Secco Suardo - Lurano (Italia)
Groningen University, Department of International Relations (Olanda)
Weimar University, Department of Architecture (Germania)
Accra University, Department of Archaeology (Ghana)
COOPARCH Société Coopérative d'Architecture, de Recherche et d'Urbanisme - Bruxelles (Belgio)
Ghana Museums and Monuments Board - Accra (Ghana)

Commissione Europea DG X

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