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Djenne - A travel report by Meyer
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Djenne,  Mali - flag Mali
10596 readers

cycleboy's travel reports

Great Mosque and Monday Market

  13 votes

Djenne travelogue picture
Djenné, the oldest known city in sub-Saharan Africa is situated on the floodlands of the Niger and Bani rivers, about 500 kilometers northeast of Bamako. In former times the town thrived because of its direct connection by the river with Timbuktu and from its situation at the head of trade routes leading to gold and salt mines. Djenné was also known as a center of islamic culture and pilgrimage, attracting students and pilgrims from all over West Africa. In 1893 Djenné was occupied by the French and its commercial functions were taken over by the town of Mopti, 90 kilometers downriver to the northeast. Today Djenné boasts of two real tourist attractions: The Great Mosque and the weekly market, taking place every Monday.

Favourite spots:
Djenne travelogue picture
The large market square, dominated by the Great Mosque. Try to visit Djenné on a Monday when the square fills with the people of the various ethnic groups which make Mali so colourful. They all come to shop at the weekly market. Everything flows together in the morning and flows apart in the evening: cattle, meat, fisch, vegetables, rice, goods for the household, drugs. The list of goods is endless. Watch the market from the roof of one of the opposite houses.

What's really great:
Djenne travelogue picture
Mixing with the people on the market, smelling the different goods, listening to the negotiations of the dealers. Watching all the different ethnic groups: Bambara (farmer), Peul and Fulbe (cattle breeders), Bozo (fishermen and masons), Bella (firewood traders).

Djenne travelogue picture
The Great Mosque, built in 1907 completely of rectangular sun-dried mud bricks that are held together by mud mortar and plastered over with mud. The masons have integrated palm wood scaffolding into the building’s construction as support for the workers who apply plaster during the annual restauration in spring. This earthen architecture, which is found throughout Mali, can last for centuries if regularly maintained. The walls provide insulation from the sun’s heat. During the day they warm up from the outside; at night they coll down again. In 1988, the old Town of Djenné and its Great Mosque were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Djenne travelogue picture
There is only one place to stay for tourists: Le campement, just 400 meters to the right standing in front of the mosque. But the rooms have no windows and therefore they are rather hot inside without air circulation. Better take your tent and stay on the roof. Good restaurant, nice people.

Other recommendations:
Djenne travelogue picture
Make a walk through the little streets and alleys of Djené and get an immpression of the real life in an West African town.
See more pictures of Mali in my gallery!

Published on Sunday March 9th, 2003

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Thu, Jun 02 2011 - 12:14 PM rating by recaro94

Awesome. Just confirms that I need to go here :)

Mon, Feb 11 2008 - 10:34 PM rating by krisek

I love the pictures! A great report. Thanks for sharing.

Wed, Oct 27 2004 - 07:52 PM rating by downundergal

Great report!

Sun, Oct 24 2004 - 09:44 PM rating by italian-link

Very good report, and nice pics. You really captured the flavor of the town.


Fri, Oct 22 2004 - 01:26 PM rating by mistybleu

I'm fascinated by other countries and cultures. I enjoyed reading your reports as there is so much of the world yet to be discovered and this provided an great insight.
Rgs Misty

Sat, Apr 19 2003 - 08:51 PM rating by admin

Hello Werner,

what a great article on Mali. This is definatelly one of the best travel reports about this country so far on Two thumbs up!!

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