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Elmina Castle in the Cape Coast

Elmina Castle: Opening hours, Cost of entry, Contact Details & More

Are you ready for an incredible journey?

Visit the Elmina Castle to experience firsthand what the slave trade was like for everyone involved.

A tour of this place is a must if you want to truly understand this profound historical event.

St. George's Castle, also known as Elimina Castle
St. George’s Castle, also known as Elmina Castle

The Portuguese built the Elmina Castle in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina Castle, also known as Mina or Feitoria da Mina. It is located in Elmina, Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast). This castle was the first trading post ever built on the Gulf of Guinea and is the oldest European building below the Sahara.

Opening times

The Elmina Castle Museum’s opening hours are 9:00am and 4:30pm daily (UTC).

Cost of entry

Below are the charges for visiting the Elmina Castle

Visitor Category Entrance Fee*
Pupils from Primary to JHS 3 GH¢   1.00
SHS Students GH¢   2.00
Tertiary Students with ID GH¢   3.00
Ghanaian Adults GH¢   5.00
Foreign Children GH¢   5.00
Foreign Students with ID GH¢ 30.00
Adult Foreigners GH¢ 40.00

Contact Details for Elmina Castle

Ghana Museums & Monuments Board
Central and Western Regions
Cape Coast Castle
Cape Coast
+233 57 668 9142

Tel +233-3321-32529/ 03321-32701

St. George's Castle

Near By Accommodation

Coconut Grove Bridge House

Elmina Beach Resort

Elmina Bay Resort

Coconut Grove Beach Resort

Direction

What you can do

You should visit the St. George’s Castle Museum, located within St. George’s Castle, also known as Elmina Castle, in the Central Region. This museum was created in 1996 with the help of GMMB, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Mid-West Universities Consortium for International Activities. Its purpose is to educate people about the history of St. George’s Castle and preserve the cultural heritage of the Central Region.

Inside the museum, you will find various exhibits, including photographs depicting the castle throughout the centuries, displays about the Asantes of Elmina and their trading activities with Europeans, gold weights, shackles, murals, local textiles, stools, stone implements, ceramics, bottles, clay, glass, and beads.

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St. George's Castle

The museum also offers guided tours of St. George’s Castle, where you can explore former storehouses, slave dungeons, chapels, and the governor’s chamber. One notable spot is the cell where a King of Asante was once held prisoner.

From the four-storey St. George’s Castle, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding harbors, fishing boats, and the nearby Fort St. Jago. After your castle tour, take some time to relax at the museum’s restaurant and bar. There is also a bookstore and a gift shop available, as well as a car park for visitors. If you prefer outdoor activities, there is an open courtyard where you can enjoy the surroundings.

Make sure to visit the St. George’s Castle Museum and delve into the rich history of this remarkable place.

History

Renowned as the first major European construction in tropical Africa, St. George’s Castle, in the town of Elmina in the Central Region of Ghana, was founded by the Portuguese in 1482. The site of the Castle was selected by Portuguese navigators, as it was advantageously located at the end of a narrow promontory, a stone’s throw away from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Benya River. The lee of the low headland provided an excellent natural harbor.

St George’s Castle or ‘Sao Jorge da Mina’, after the patron saint of Portugal, as the castle was known to the Portuguese, afforded the Portuguese a trade monopoly in the area, with unrivaled access to the region’s gold.

The sheer magnitude of trade volumes resulted in labor challenges, as navies were unable to convey large quantities of European goods to all markets. The importation of slaves from Benin in exchange for gold and ivory in the early 16th century was the identified solution. However, not long after, the influx of superior gold from Mexico into Europe caused gold prices to plummet rapidly. The economically distraught Portuguese were easily ousted from Elmina in 1637 by the Dutch.

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The main Dutch trades were gold and slaves; they reconstructed the castle between 1770 and 1775. Until 1872, the castle served as the focal coordinating point for Dutch Gold Coast activities. In 1682, the author Jean Barbot described St. George’s Castle as having ‘no equal on all the coast of Guinea, with respect to beauty and strength.

On 6th April, 1872, the castle was ceded to the British. In recent years, it has served as Police Recruit Training Centre, a secondary school, and it is presently a historical museum. St. George’s Castle is featured on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Next to the castle is a picturesque fishing harbour, and within walking distance are sites such as Fort Coenraadsburg (St. Jago), the Dutch cemetery, and the ‘Posuban’ buildings of Elmina.

Nearby Attractions

Cape Coast Castle

Kakum National Park

UPPER Fort St Jago / Fort Conraadsburg

Forty San Sabastien

Ahanta Waves Surf School

FAQs about Elmina Castle

Who is the current owner of Elmina Castle?

The government of Ghana is the current owner of Elmina Castle.

What is the captivating story behind Elmina Castle?

Elmina Castle has a captivating history as the oldest European building in sub-Saharan Africa and a significant hub of the transatlantic slave trade.

Why has Elmina Castle gained such fame and recognition?

Elmina Castle is famous for its role in the transatlantic slave trade and as the oldest European building below the Sahara.

Which castle is the oldest in Africa?

Elmina Castle holds the title of being the oldest castle in Africa. It was built by the Portuguese in 1482

What is the origin and meaning behind the name “Elmina”?

Elmina is a city in the Central Region of Ghana. Its name comes from the Portuguese word for “Mine“. The gold found in these mines is also the origin of the name “Gold Coast”, which was the name of what is now Ghana when it was a British Colony.

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Which castle is the oldest in Ghana?

St. George’s d’Elmina Castle, built in 1482, is the oldest castle in Ghana. It is one of the oldest European buildings outside Europe, and the historic town of Elmina is believed to be the location of the first point of contact between Europeans and sub-Saharan Africans.

How many castles can be found in Ghana?

Ghana has four major castles: Elmina Castle, Cape Coast Castle, Christiansborg Castle, and Fort St. Jago.

Which castle is the largest in Ghana?

Elmina Castle is the largest castle in Ghana.

What is the local name given to Elmina?

The local name for Elmina is Edina.

How many enslaved individuals were held in Elmina Castle?

By the 18th century, over 30,000 slaves on their way to the Americas passed through Elmina each year.

Is Elmina located in Accra?

No, Elmina is not in Accra. It is located in the Central Region of Ghana. It is only 135 km from Accra, but it does take 3,5 hours.

How old is Elmina Castle?

Elmina Castle is over 500 years old.

Which country constructed Elmina Castle?

St. George’s Castle, in the town of Elmina in the Central Region of Ghana, was founded by the Portuguese in 1482.

What is the historical background of Elmina town?

Elmina town has a rich history as a significant trading post and a center of colonial influence.

Where is the Door of No Return situated in Ghana?

The Door of No Return can be found at various locations in Ghana, including Cape Coast Castle.

Which country is geographically closest to Ghana?

The country closest to Ghana is Togo to the east.

Where did slaves partake in their final bath?

The Assin Manso Slave River Site served as the place where slaves had their last bath on African soil before being marched down to the slave castles of Elmina and Cape Coast along the coast.

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