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Elmina Castle, Elmina, Ghana

The Elmina Сastle was erected in 1482 as São Jorge da Mina (St. George of the Mine) Castle under the command of Diogo de Azambuja, a Portuguese nobleman and a sailor. Elmina was the first European building in Africa erected below the Sahara. The fortress was an important Portuguese port in Gulf of Guinea. In 1637 it was occupied by the Dutch, in 1871 became the possession of British Empire till 1957 – the declaration of independence of Ghana. The Elmina Сastle is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Сastle is widely known as a slave trade center, as a depot for slaves. It is stand on Atlantic beach like a symbol of hatred towards «white» people. The slaves often captured in the African interior were kept here, waiting for their turn to be sold overseas. The conditions of their so called "life" were so horrible that not all of them survived. The main site of the fortress is the huge well, were the slaves were actually kept. Many visitors become sick on seeing this well, but hundreds of people were condemned to living here for months and even years… There is also a death chamber: it is a small and damp room where is no enough light even at day-time. The only small window is on the floor level, and a scarce light beam could be caught. On the walls there can be still found iron shackles that also often caused death: they rubbed hands and legs leading to septic wounds.

Although hundreds of people died here due to horrible conditions, the slavers didn't feel like improving them, preferring to lose lots of slaves.

Today the Elmina Castle is open for visitors, but the most sensitive people definitely shouldn't visit it.

By Sona Gasparian, www.biulding.am

Photos: www.fotopedia.com



 


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