MANHYIA PALACE IN KUMASI
The Manhyia(Akan language meaning Oman hyia -gathering of the town’s people) Palace is the seat of the Asantehene of Asanteman, as well as his official residence. It is located at Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti Kingdom and Ashanti Region. The first palace is now a museum. King Opoku Ware II built the new palace, which is close to the old one and is used by the current Asantehene, King Osei Tutu II.
The palace was built in 1925 by the British some time after the Third Anglo-Ashanti War in 1874, when the British had destroyed the original palace built by Asantes. The British were said to have been impressed by the size of the original palace and the scope of its contents, which included “rows of books in many languages.”, but due to events in the War of the Golden Stool, the British demolished the royal palace with explosives. The palace consequently erected is a kilometre from the Centre for National Culture, Kumasi.
Upon the return from exile of the Asantehene Nana Prempeh I from the Seychelles Islands, the building was offered to him for use as his residence. This was because prior to the Asantehene’s exile, his old palace had been burnt down in the Yaa Asentewa War. The war was fought between the British and the Asantes because of the refusal of the Asantehene to offer the Golden stool to the then governor of the Gold Coast. Prempeh I only accepted the offer after he had paid for the cost of the building in full. Two kings lived in the palace, namely Otumfuo Prempeh I and Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, KBE, the 13th and 14th kings of the Asante nation.
The old palace was converted into a museum in 1995 after the new palace was built. Opoku Ware II was the first king to live in the new palace, which he occupied until his death in 1999. The current Asantehene Barima Kwaku Duah popularly called Otumfuor Osei Tutu II, currently resides in the new palace.