The amazing Bobo Dioulasso Grand Mosque is impressive representative of the traditional Sudano-Sahelian architecture, most likely - the largest building in this style in Burkina Faso. It was built in the end of the 19th century as a result of political deal between local king and Islamic religious leader.
Second city of Burkina Faso
The second largest city in Burkina Faso is Bobo-Dioulasso. In many respects it is more fascinating than the capital Ouagadougou, it has richer cultural life and architecture. Smaller settlement has existed here since the 11th century, current city developed since the late 19th century.
Local, animistic religions are still active here but step by step, since the late 18th century Islam is coming to this part of world.
The construction of Bobo Dioulasso Grand Mosque was a result of deal in local politics.
At the end of the 19th century local kingdom of Sya (old name of Bobo Dioulasso is Sya) was in grave danger: forces of the hostile king of Kenedougou (in present-day Mali) Tieba Traoré advanced on the capital of Sya. King of Sya was desperately looking for assistance and found it - Islamic religious leader Almamy Sidiki Sanou was ready to help, but only if king of Sya would build a mosque in Bobo Dioulasso.
King of Kenedougou was stopped some 30 km from the capital and kingdom of Sya was saved. Mosque was built soon after and, reportedly, defeated king of Kenedougou was among the builders.
The exact date of construction is not known - some say that it was built in 1880, there are mentioned also such years as 1882, 1883 and 1893.
Mosque in Sudano-Sahelian style
In Bobo Dioulasso are located several monuments of Sudano-Sahelian architecture - the traditional architecture which is characteristic in this part of the world. These amazing buildings were created from locally available materials: mud and some wood.
Sudano-Sahelian architecture is characterised by rounded, soft forms and wooden "sticks" protruding from the walls. These sticks are needed to maintain the building: repairs are needed almost every year.
Just like the much better known Great Mosque of Djenné in Mali, Bobo Dioulasso Grand Mosque is adorned with numerous pilasters. There are two taller towers - minarets - as well.
Interior of mosque is dark (there is electrical light and fans though), austere, although trunks of mahogany are used for ceiling.
Men have prayer hall at the front, women - in the backside.
Visitors may enter it and even climb on the rooftop in certain hours. Mosque is well maintained. Unfortunately cement was used for repairs lately and the building looks worse than before.
This large country is comparatively little known but nevertheless - charming and with numerous interesting mysteries. Most interesting landmarks in Burkina Faso are archaeological monuments and traditional architecture.
History of Islam starts in early 7th century with the deeds of historical personality - prophet Muhammad (ca 570/571 - 632). Main activities of Muhammad took place in Mecca and Medina (Saudi Arabia) and their vicinities, where today are located most important Islamic sites.