View Along The East FaçadeDjingareyber Mosque Restoration
Djingarey Ber, 'the Great Mosque', is Timbuktu's oldest monument and its major landmark. Located at the western corner of the old town, the mosque is almost entirely built in banco (raw earth), which is used for mud bricks and rendering.
Wood poles are left in the building to stabilise it and
to use as footholds when re-surfacing the mosque
The exceptions are the northern wall, reinforced in the 1960s in alhore (limestone blocks, also widely used in the rest of the town), and the minaret, also built in limestone and rendered with mud.
View of the north and east façades
The mosque's maintenance, consisting mainly of repairing the mud rendering, is regularly undertaken upon appeal by the imam to the population, whose contributions take the form of money, materials and labour.
View of the rooftop minaret looking north
The town of Timbuktu and its monuments were included in UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1988, and in 1989 the three mosques of Djingareyber, Sankoré and Sidi Yahia were included in the List of World Heritage Monuments in Danger.
As a result, in 1996 the World Heritage Centre financed an operation for the emergency restoration of these mosques. In December of that year, the architects of the GAIA Project (ICCROM/CRATerre-EAG) put together a training programme, which actively involved not only local committees and experts in indigenous techniques but also the population itself.
Deteriorating mud constructions near the mosque
The mosque of Djingareyber is the oldest, largest and most complex of the three mosques. The intervention was crucial to prevent a process of decay.
View of the covering over the outdoor prayer court
These works cannot be entirely separated from the work done in the other two mosques, yet its added symbolic value is indisputable.
Covered prayer court
The restoration of a building of this type, however, is a continuous process.
View north along the east façade
After the intervention of 1996, minor repairs and maintenance have been regularly carried out, the most important being the consolidation and rendering of the minaret in 2000. It is evident, however, that the mosque will soon need to enter another phase of structural restoration.
View south along the east façade
The foundations are made of stone. Otherwise the materials and construction methods are very similar to those at Djenné.
View of the north façade with entry to the secondary court
Load-bearing elements are generally in mud brick with wooden tie-beams laid at intervals at the courses.
Northwest entrance to the secondary courtReinforcing layers of alhore stone have been added at various times to walls, buttresses, parapets and the minaret.
Aerial view over the secondary court
Roofs are made of palm-tree joists crossed with branches and covered first with palm matting and then fine mud.
Stairs in the secondary court lead to the rooftop minaret
The branches are left exposed in some parts of the ceiling and rendered in mud in others, probably reflecting different periods of maintenance work.
A niche in the secondary court
Interior, transition between the courtyard and prayer hall
Presentation panel with project description, street view and photographs of restoration work
Presentation panel with project description and exterior and interior views after restoration