Djenné (also Dienné or Jenne) is a historically and commercially important small city in the Niger Inland Delta of south-central Mali.
The mosque of Djenné is one of Mali’s most remarkable cultural heritage sites. This ancient architectural wonder, located in the city of Djenné, was built in 1907 and is considered to be one of the largest mud brick structures in the world.
The mosque was built in the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style, which is characterised by the use of mud bricks, adobe plaster, and wooden beams.
This style of architecture often referred to as Sahelian adobe architecture, is widespread in West Africa, especially in nations such as Burkina Faso, northern Ivory Coast, and northern Ghana and similarly in northern Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.
The mosque’s construction was carried out by the French colonial administration in Mali, who sought to replace the original mosque that had been destroyed by French troops. The building process involved the local community who helped in the transportation of the mud bricks from the nearby river, and the construction was completed within a year.
The mosque of Djenné has become an important cultural symbol in Mali and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It serves as a centre of religious and cultural activity for the community, and its annual mud plastering ceremony has become a popular tourist attraction.
Despite its age, the mosque has withstood the test of time and natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. However, in recent years, the mosque has faced some challenges due to the increased threat of desertification and erosion. The local community and government have been working together to preserve the mosque and its surrounding environment.
The mosque of Djenné is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the Malian people, and it stands as a reminder of the country’s rich cultural heritage.