On the Atlantic coast of Ghana rises the town of Elmina, that boasts one of the most picturesque fishing ports of the whole country and the white castle of St George.

Elmina was founded about 700 years ago on a narrow strip of land, straddling the Benya Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean, and served as a fishing port and salt production point.

The place was probably chosen precisely because the lagoon was an excellent source of salt, that the local populations collected and sold to the inland kingdoms in exchange for gold; this gave rise to the development of an important trade route, that allowed the Portuguese, who arrived here first in 1471, to trade in gold.

Today the city is an important tourist destination and has retained its characteristic fishing port, full of colorful pirogues, that also hosts a lively fish market; in the narrow streets of the town you can also meet the numerous and colorful Posubansanctuaries, finally there are two beautiful castles: St. George and St. Jago.

The Castle of St. George, sometimes also known as the "Castle of Elmina", was an important place in the long and aberrant history of slavery.

The Portuguese began building a fort in 1482, after obtaining permission from the local king, King Caramansa or, better, Kwamina Ansah, who was described by the Portuguese as follows: "seated on a high bench with a necklace of gold and precious stones, legs and arms covered with gold bracelets, silk dress with rings of solid gold and the beard also intertwined with golden threads ".

In the following five years, many Portuguese merchants settled in Elmina and the city remained an important center for Portuguese businesses for the next 150 years; it is believed that the name "Elmina" derives from the Portuguese "Mina de Ouro" or gold mine.

The castle resisted three days of bombing by the Dutch naval ships, but in 1637 the hill of San Jago, that dominates the city and the fort, was conquered by the Dutch who, from that predominant position, began to bomb the castle of St George and forced the Portuguese to surrender.

The fort remained under the rule of the crown of Holland from 1637 to 1872, during this period the Dutch built a new fort on the hill of St Jago, to prevent other powers could use that position to expel them from Elmina, just as they did with the Portuguese.

In 1872 the Dutch lost all their castles on the Gold Coast in favor of the British Empire who installed their troops here.

The castle of St. George, that had originally arisen for the gold trade, became an important center for the collection of slaves; it was, in fact, enlarged during the period when slaves replaced gold as the main and most profitable commodity for exchange.

The warehouses, initially built to cram gold before being boarded, were expanded and used as segregation cells; these narrow and dark spaces create a strong contrast with the residences placed on the upper floors intended for Europeans, these rooms are large and bright and enjoy a spectacular view of the coast and the ocean.

Even the Portuguese church, located in the middle of the main courtyard, was transformed by the Dutch into a room used for auctioning for the purchase of slaves.

The fortress of St. George is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and houses a museum that describes the history of the slave trade of the Atlantic Route.

Even the Portuguese church, located in the middle of the main courtyard, was transformed by the Dutch into a room used for auctioning for the purchase of slaves.

The visit to the castle starts from the cells of detention of slaves, where they were massed in large numbers, then continues in the courtyard, where the most beautiful slaves were exposed, to be chosen by the captain of the fort to make him "company", it also goes into those rooms in which the chosen slaves were brought to be washed and prepared to meet the captain and his eventual guests; the visit continues climbing on the bastions overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and in the rooms used as dwellings of the captain and his family and ends with the Door of No Return, the door that the slaves crossed to get out of the fort to be boarded on ships directed towards the Americas.

The castle of St. Jago, that stands on the hill of the same name, has also been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and, from its privileged position, dominates the castle of St. George, the fishing port and the entire town of Elmina.

The port and the adjoining fish market are worth a visit, the countless colored pirogues enter and leave the port without stopping, while the women sell the fruits of fishing in a lively market.

Not far away are numerous wooden planks and palm fronds intertwined where the fish is placed to dry.

Walking through the streets of Elmina you will find numerous and colorful Posubans, they are unique sanctuaries of the central coastal region of Ghana.