The Construction That is Built Once Every Year: The Great Mosque of Djenne

The Construction That is Built Once Every Year: The Great Mosque of Djenne



Mali, the country that is located in West Africa, is the home to world’s biggest mosque made of adobe, the Great Mosque of Djenne. This grand mosque in Djenne’s spiritual atmosphere brings local communities together and here is the backstory of this unity.



The very first construction of the Great Mosque of Djenne is in 13th century with the 26th King of Djenne becoming a Muslim. Around those times, Djenne was a modest and central city of the trade way between West Africa and Mediterranean countries, also with a nice and fertile climate.



The king decided to turn his castle into a great mosque after becoming a Muslim and build a brand new castle next to that mosque. The mosque was not only for worship, it was also used as a local library and education for the public of Djenne.



According to the French explorer Rene Caillie, when he visited Djenne in 1828 and described the details of the Great Mosque of Djenne, he states that the mosque had a very bad smell because of the thousands of martlets’ burrows. That’s why people had to worship outside of the mosque.



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Djenné city built in 10 century, big mosque & with a big literary. Mali 🇲🇱

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Another allegation about the bad smells is that when Amado Lobbo invaded Djenne, he left the mosque to decay because he thought that the design of the mosque were too showy for an Islamic temple. So in 1834, he deconstracted the mosque and built a simple one. Some of the original parts were left and used as graves of the local leaders.



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– I travel with those operating under the unspoken agreement that if you fall behind in the pack, you are to be left to your lonesome to find your way back to the group. And while seemingly apathetic, this idea has never been out of malice nor lack of care but more-so done in the righteous name of Efficiency— if we want to experience the highest amount of adventure and see the most world possible, we can’t allow anything to hold us back. – Our ragtag team of world explorers were fueled by curiosity and at times perhaps a degree too high of adrenaline that propelled us into the most unlikely and oftentimes dangerous of places. It’s a daunting reality when that fend-for-yourself mindset and need-for-thrill itch mix, because it more often than not resulted in accidental moments of self-exploration in areas that desperately called for a squad of defense. – So there I was, stranded and cutoff from modern civilization for 4 days in a rural and exotic state who’s main export was corruption and thievery with nothing but a fuel-deprived motorcycle, a couple bucks of foreign currency, and a half-eaten Fiber One bar wrought with all the blossoming bacteria of my sweaty inner back pocket. What could go wrong?

Christopher Beyrooty (@runawayroo)’in paylaştığı bir gönderi ()


In April 1893, the French colonial powers took the control of Mali. The year 1906 was the time for a new construction of the Great Mosque of Djenne, with the support of the public. There were some debates about the architecture of the mosque, if it was built according to French or African architecture.



Today, the Great Mosque of Djenne has a Sudano-Sahelian architecture and is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO since 1988. The mosque is located next to Bani River’s flood basin and it is on 99 adobe pillars, which refers the 99 names of God in Quran. All of the construction is made of terracota bricks and sand with a traditional oil.



Because the material of the mosque is not very resistant, it needs regularly upkeep. That’s why local people reconstruct the Great Mosque of Djenne with celebrating. This celebration is called Crepissage (Plastering). Every April, people of Djenne come together and re-plaster the whole mosque with this festival.




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