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Ghana: Independence Square

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Independence Square | Ghana | Africa

[Visited: September 2008]

While in the taxi to Independence Square, I was still watching the big National Stadium when I noticed we were getting to a stop. In fact, we had arrived at Independence Square, conveniently located next to the biggest stadium of the country. It was easy to recognize: the Independence Arch, countless Ghanaian flags waving in the welcome breeze, and a massive open space behind a monument. I paid the driver and got off.

Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): Independence Monument seen from below

It was a strange sensation to walk onto the immense gathering space and parading ground behind Independence Monument all alone, with no one around, with empty grandstands. This area is able to hold 30,000 spectators, but now it was empty. Crowds gather every year on 6 March to commemorate Ghanaian Independence. I paused at the Independence Monument, where I noticed the eternal flame was extinguished. The monument is quite straightforward: a tall pedestal with a statue on top, a slab of marble at its feet and the large bowl which is supposed to hold the eternal flame, with black stars, at the end.

Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): Independence Monument and Ghanaian flags

To get a better feel of the size of the square, I walked to the other end, spoke to some military guards, before heading to the Independence Arch. This is a more monumental sight of Independence Square. It was erected in 1961 for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II, some four years after Ghana was the first African country to achieve independence. Close to Independence Arch you can find the tomb of an unknown soldier. The Black Star on top of Independence Arch is a symbol of African freedom, and can also be found in the Ghanaian flag. In fact, Independence Square was originally called Black Star Square.

Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): Shadow of Independence Monument cast on vast Independence Square
Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): Independence Monument, Ghanaian flag and the Black Star
Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): View on Independence Monument and Arch from the square
Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): Independence Arch with Black Star on Independence Square
Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): The Black Star on top of the Independence Arch with Ghanaian flags in the foreground
Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): Independence Monument and Square
Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): View of Independence Square from a corner
Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): Eternal flame extinguished at Independence Monument with grandstand in the background
Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): Southside of Independence Square
Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): Black Star on top of Independence Arch
Picture of Independence Square (Ghana): Building at southside of Independence Square

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