9 Aralık 2011 Cuma

Great Mosque, Chinguetti, Mauritania

 Great Mosque, Chinguetti, Mauritania
The Chinguetti Mosque is a mosque in Chinguetti, Mauritania.
It was an ancient center of worship created by the founders of the oasis city of Chinguetti in the Adrar region of Mauritania in the thirteenth or fourteenth century.
The minaret of this ancient structure is supposed to be the second oldest in continuous use anywhere in the Muslim world.

Architecturally, the structure features a prayer room with four aisles as well as a double-niched symbolic door, or mihrab pointing towards Mecca and an open courtyard.
Among its most distinctive characteristics are its spare, unmortared, split stone masonry, its square minaret tower, and its conscious lack of adornment, keeping with the strict Malikite beliefs of the city's founders.
The mosque and its minaret is popularly considered the national emblem of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

In the 1970s the mosque was restored through a UNESCO effort, but it, along with the city itself, continues to be threatened by intense desertification.

The Friday Mosque in Chinguetti was built in either the thirteenth or fourteenth century, and is said to be the soul of the holy city of Chinguetti.
In the 1970s it was restored through a UNESCO effort, and though the desertification is rapidly leading to its deterioration, its minaret still towers above the old city.

The walls of the mosque are constructed of split stone and its floor is lined with sand.
A roof of palm beams covered with clay is held aloft by stone piers, which, like the sanctuary at the Tomb of Askia in Mali, create four aisles of bays.
The innermost aisle is set before the eastern wall of the qibla.
A double-niched mihrab, which represents both the mihrab and the minbar, projects from the qibla wall, also like that at the Tomb of Askia.

Across from the mosque sanctuary in the southwestern corner of the complex, rises the dominant minaret.
The minaret is notable for its lack of plaster construction.
The minaret is set on a square plinth measuring between six and seven meters on each side.
Rising from this base, its walls, constructed of dry yellow and rose-colored stone, taper gradually inwards to create a sawma'a tower form.
The tower thickens again at the top through a triple-stepped corbelled cornice.
The apex is surmounted by four pinnacle like acroteria (crenellation-like forms) at the corners.

Atop the acroteria sit clay sculptures of ostrich eggs.
These ostrich eggs are said to recall a time when Chinguetti was still green and ostrich thrived there. These four pediments demarcate the four cardinal directions.
A fifth egg sits in the center of the roof of the minaret, which when seen from the west defines the axis towards Mecca and serves as a guide for prayer.
Supposedly in the past, travelers would give offerings of eggs at the mosque.

Small window like apertures on the west facade of the minaret allow in a slight amount of light.
The larger doorway, leading to the internal minaret stairs, is surmounted by triangular ornaments.

Recent archeological findings suggest that this mosque was built upon the base of a pre-extant mosque.

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