Located in the arid hinterland of the scorching Sahara Desert in southern Mali, Africa, the Great Mosque of Djenné is a beguiling structure that instantly captures the imagination. Nearly 20m high and built on a 91mlong platform, it's the world's largest mud-brick building. The gargantuan mosque is the centrepiece of life in the Unesco-protected town of Djenné.
Perched on a floodplain between the Niger and Bani rivers, Djenné has been inhabited since 250BC, making it one of the oldest towns in sub-Saharan Africa. It flourished between the 13th and 18th Centuries as a key transport hub for goods such as salt and gold. Trade caravans also brought scholars and scribes, who introduced Islam to the region. It didn't take long for Djenné to become a centre for Islamic scholarship, with the Great Mosque's current edifice built-in 1907 on the site of the community's original mosque, which fell into disrepair during the 19th Century.
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