The Great Mosque at Djenné

Local chronicles of the city’s history date the first mosque in Djenné to around 1180AD. The city’s current Great Mosque, built in 1906 on what appears to be the same site as the original mosque, in seen as the culmination of Sudano-Sahelian architecture. The prayer hall is a hypostyle with three mihrab niches and a large courtyard (sahn) to the west. A mud-brick structure with the familiar toron and banco rendering, what stands out about the Djenné Great Mosque is it verticality and monumentality. The box-like towers that cover the three mihrab niches soar to impressive heights, as do the pinnacles that rise above the buttress-like pilasters between towers, all accented by regular rows of stout toron. Also called the Dyula style, after the city’s merchant class, Djenné’s particular approach to local architectural forms and styles has gone on to inspire other mosques in the region.