West Africa Travel is Rife With Opportunities to Explore Mali's Culture and History

November 16, 2011
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While art, music and textiles are some the best known contributions of Mali culture that visitors can experience, architecture is a creative venue that is especially rich in this West African country. One of Mali’s most distinct architectural wonders is the Grand Mosque of Djenné.

Considered by many architects to be the greatest achievement of the Sudano-Sahelian architectural style, the mosque is the largest mud brick building in the world, according to Sacred-Destinations.com.

The Grand Mosque was built in 1907 in the traditional-Sahelian style that originated with the Macina people in the city of Dia, and later became popular in the Djenné region. Elements of this style include cubical structures and earthen brick bases, according to ArtMatters.info.

The ways in which builders used natural materials to create the massive structure. Palm branches are used inside the walls to reduce cracking, and they serve as scaffolding in case of repairs. Each minaret that juts out from the main wall has a spiral staircase that leads to the roof, which is a cone-shaped spire topped with an ostrich egg.

On Mondays in Djenné, the area around the Grand Mosque comes to life as people come from across the region to buy and sell their wares – a colorful sight.

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