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Rebuilding the Great Mosque of Djenne

Each year, the residents of central Mali work together to preserve one of the most iconic structures in both Islamic & African architectural history: the Great Mosque of Djenne, the world’s largest mud-brick structure.

This epic one-day event is called the Crépissage...

Image credit Peter Yeung / BBC Travel


Located in southern Mali, the Great Mosque of Djenné is a unique structure that instantly captures the imagination. Nearly 20m high & built on a 91m-long platform, it's the world's largest mud-brick building and the finest example of Sudano-Sahelian architecture.

Image credit Raphael Bick


The walls of Djenné's Great Mosque are reconstructed with mud each April in the Crépissage Not only is the Crépissage an act of maintenance to protect the mosque from crumbling, it's also a festival to celebrate community, faith & heritage.

Image credit Google Arts & Culture


Djenné was founded between 800 and 1250 C.E., and it flourished as a great center of commerce, learning, and Islam, which had been practiced from the beginning of the 13th century.

Image credit Phil Marion


The entire city of Djenne is built from mud, which is a material well suited to the extreme weather conditions in that the thick walls of the buildings retain the cool from the earth and the relatively chilly nights.

Image credit MINUSMA / Sophie Ravier


The Mosque has 3 distinctive minarets with hundreds of sticks of rodier palm, known as 'toron' jutting out from the walls. It remains cool during the hottest days. A lattice of 90 internal wooden columns supports the roof & the walls which provide insulation from the sun's heat.

Image credit Raphael Bick


The walls of Djenné's Great Mosque are reconstructed with mud each April in an epic one-day event called the Crépissage (Plastering). The structure requires annual reinforcement – as do the town's traditional adobe homes before Mali's rainy season which occurs in July & August.

Image credit MINUSMA / Sophie Ravier


This immense undertaking of reconstruction ensures that the mosque will survive the rainy season, despite altering in shape ever so slightly each year.

Image credit MINUSMA / Sophie Ravier</