Elmina is known for young men who hassle tourists at the castle entrance.
In all fairness, there would be no one hassling the tourists if they could get a job and earn money another way. But there are no jobs to be had. I try not to be impatient or rude with such young men, as I’m well aware that it’s poverty and desperation that drives this behavior and it sure beats being robbed. But as a traveler, when you’re constantly being confronted and asked for money, whether directly or indirectly, it does wear on you.
It was quite hot by this time, and every time the sun broke through the clouds I went scurrying for the nearest shade.
There are many stairs, and soon enough I was sweating bullets.
In the small courtyard above, note the cannonball to the left. Normally there were three of them, each weighing about 25 pounds. As a punishment, a slave would be chained to them for a 24 hour period, sometimes longer, unable to move out of the scorching sun or the pouring rain.
Every slave fortress has a Door of No Return, the final doorway the slaves passed through before being loaded onto the ships, never to return to their homeland. The slaves, after being starved and barely kept alive for some weeks, were easily able to go through this doorway, even those who were quite robust to begin with.
The death chamber was a small cell, maybe eight feet by eight feet, with no exterior window. There was by design no light and no chance of a cross breeze within it. Those who fought hardest against their imprisonment and considered intransigent, were locked inside. Food was withheld, and they were left there to die. That is the reason for the skull and crossbones above the door. I entered the cell with a group of maybe twelve people, and as soon as the door was closed, it was suffocating in there.