Contest #805: Djenne, Mali

Thanks again to Paul Voestermans for his location, hint and reveal content!

The Great Mosque and the old town of Djenné in Mali, are both on the UNESCO Heritage list. Designed by architect Ismaila Traoré, head of Djenné’s masons’ guild, and built from 1906-1908, the mosque’s current form is the largest and most famous building made entirely of clay. It is considered one of the highlights of architecture from the Sahel. Its use of local materials such as mud and palm wood, its incorporation of traditional architectural styles and its adaptation to the warm climate of West Africa are expressions of its elegant connection to the local environment. Such earthen architecture, found throughout Mali, can last for centuries if maintained regularly.

The first mosque was built in 1240 by Sultan Koi Kunboro, who converted to Islam and turned his palace into a mosque.

The building is very vulnerable to wind and rain, so it is refurbished with new layers of clay every year. The walls of Djenné’s Great Mosque are reconstructed with mud each April in an epic one-day event called the Crépissage (Plastering). Not only is the Crépissage an important act of maintenance designed to protect the mosque’s walls from cracking and crumbling, but it’s also a festival that celebrates Djenné’s community, faith and heritage. The night before the rebuilding, the town hums with anticipation and villagers take part in a carnival of singing and dancing known as La Nuit de Veille, or The Waking Night.

Found before the hint:

  • Paul Voestermans
  • zorro the fox
  • Garfield
  • Eloy Cano
  • hhgygy
  • Phil Ower
  • Martin de Bock
  • Lighthouse

After the hint:

  • Gillian B.
  • Bas van Limpt
  • Graham Hedley
  • Andreas Meister