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Nicknamed the "Jewel of the Niger", Djenne is indisputably the most beautiful city in Mali, and without doubt all of West Africa, and it's not just by chance that UNESCO listed the city as a World Heritage Site in 1988.

Djenne, the jewel of Mali. Photos and text ŠBruno Morandi/LightMediation Contact - Thierry Tinacci - LightMediation Photo Agency - +33 (0)6 61 80 57 21 thierry@lightmediation.com


2431-33: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, woman on the way to the Monday market.


2431-01: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world, Monday market

2431-02: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world

2431-03: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world

2431-04: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world


2431-05: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world

2431-06: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world

2431-07: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world

2431-08: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world


2431-05: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world


2431-09: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world, Monday market

2431-10: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world, Monday market

2431-11: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, the biggest mud mosque of the world, Monday market

2431-12: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Monday market


2431-13: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Monday market

2431-14: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Monday market

2431-15: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Monday market

2431-16: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Monday market, french "baguette" sellers.


2431-41: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Senossa village around Djenne, Peul ethnic group woman.

2431-44: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Senossa village around Djenne, Peul ethnic group woman.


2431-17: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Ma誰ga house, Toucouleur style house.

2431-18: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Ma誰ga house, Toucouleur style house.

2431-19: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Marocan style house.

2431-20: Mali. Djenne, Manual fabrication of Bogolon. Tapestry of coton.


2431-21: Mali. Djenne, Manual fabrication of Bogolon. Tapestry of coton.

2431-22: Mali. Djenne, Manual fabrication of Bogolon. Tapestry of coton.

2431-23: Mali, Djenne, woman crushing millet.

2431-24: Mali, Djenne, woman crushing millet.


2431-27: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Boat on the Boni river.


2431-25: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Marocan style house. Young boys.

2431-26: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, shepherd on the street.

2431-27: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Boat on the Boni river.

2431-28: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Boat on the Boni river.


2431-29: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Boat on the Boni river.

2431-30: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Boat on the Boni river.

2431-31: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, woman on the way to the Monday market.

2431-32: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, woman on the way to the Monday market.


2431-21: Mali. Djenne, Manual fabrication of Bogolon. Tapestry of coton.


2431-33: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, woman on the way to the Monday market.

2431-34: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Monday market, Bambara ethnic group woman.

2431-35: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Monday market, Bambara ethnic group woman.

2431-36: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Monday market, Bambara ethnic group woman.


2431-37: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Monday market, Peul ethnic group woman.

2431-38: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Monday market, Peul ethnic group woman.

2431-39: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Monday market, Peul ethnic group woman, gold earring.

2431-40: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Senossa village around Djenne, Peul ethnic group woman.


2431-17: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Ma誰ga house, Toucouleur style house.


2431-41: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Senossa village around Djenne, Peul ethnic group woman.

2431-42: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Senossa village around Djenne, Peul ethnic group woman.

2431-43: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Peul shepherd

2431-44: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Senossa village around Djenne, Peul ethnic group woman.


2431-45: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Senossa village around Djenne, Peul ethnic group woman.

2431-46: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Peul shepherd

2431-47: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Peul shepherd, silver ring.

2431-48: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Peul shepherd, silver ring.


2431-15: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Monday market


2431-49: Mali, Djenne, Unesco World Heritage, Peul shepherd

2431-50: Mali, Djenne, traditional musician (Griot).

2431-51: Mali, djenne, transhumance of the cattle from Peul ethnic group, crossing Bani river.

2431-52: Mali, djenne, transhumance of the cattle from Peul ethnic group, crossing Bani river.


2431-53: Mali, djenne, transhumance of the cattle from Peul ethnic group, crossing Bani river.

2431-54: Mali, djenne, transhumance of the cattle from Peul ethnic group, crossing Bani river.

2431-55: Mali, djenne, transhumance of the cattle from Peul ethnic group, crossing Bani river.

2431-56: Aids campaign at the back of a local bus.


2431-38: Mali, Djenne, Unesco world heritage, Monday market, Peul ethnic group woman.


Djenne, the jewel of Mali. The pinasse glides silently along the tepid waters of the Boni river. Aboard, Fulani women dressed in bright colors and decked with gold and amber jewelry are going to the market in Djenne, which, every Monday since a thousand years ago, brings together the population of the city and its surrounding areas. At the foot of the big mosque, the square livens up quite early in the morning, with the tradespeople setting up their stands and the bush taxis, the carts and the trucks disgorging their load of peasants. Seen from a terrace overhanging the square, the spectacle of this gaily-colored crowd and that earthen architecture is captivating. The market buys and sells pell-mell dried fish, colorful fabrics, sheep, rock salt, vegetables, medicinal herbs... Nicknamed the "Jewel of the Niger", Djenne is indisputably the most beautiful city in Mali, and without doubt all of West Africa, and it's not just by chance that UNESCO listed the city as a World Heritage Site in 1988. Twin sister to Timbuktu, Djenne was founded in the 9th century to aid trade between the people of the desert to the north and those of the forests to the south. Directly connected to Timbuktu by a river, Djenne was the crossroads of the Salt and the Gold Routes. From the 16th to the 17th century the city was under Moroccan domination before passing into the hands of the Toucouleurs, then the French (1893). In addition to trade, Djenne was an important center of pilgrimage and religious teaching for all of West Africa. Without being particularly difficult to reach,

it is still necessary to cover 600 km of potholed road to reach Djenne from the capital Bamako. 30 km before arriving, the straight road dominates the soft green rice fields flecked with a few white wading birds. It then passes through the first villages of houses built of banco (a mix of straw, earth and shea butter), giving a hint already of what's to come in that famous jewel. And then there is the wait for the ferry to cross the Boni River, a tributary of the Niger and final contretemps before finally reaching the city. Sitting on an island, the medieval city is entirely built of banco. The same color as the ground, magnificent houses seem to rise right out of the earth. Nothing has changed since the founding of the city, even if water and electricity appeared just a short time ago. Strolling the narrow and winding lanes of Djenne takes you into another world altogether. Two styles of architecture dominate: Moroccan architecture, older, and that of the Toucouleurs with more rounded contours and recognizable by an earthen awning to protect them from evil spirits. But the "must" is without doubt the mosque. It is the biggest mosque in the world and its origins go back to 1240. It was rebuilt by Sheikh Amadou in 1830 but the present-day version was designed by the architect IsmaĂŤl TraorĂŠ, head of the masons of Djenne. If Djenne has withstood the tests of time it is mostly thanks to this corporation of masons, which has perpetuated an ancestral know-how up to the present day. In the surrounding villages, the ethnic group of the Bozos, a fishing people, and the Fulani, livestock breeders, live together. In Autumn, in Sofara, a few kilometers to the north of Djenne, the big herds of cows and goats gather together and get ready to cross the Boni River to go to winter pasture. Herd by herd, the

cattle throw themselves into the water. The shepherds swim next to the animals to prevent them from circling back. The luckier goats are transported by pinasses. This gathering, a thousand year old custom also, is of course the occasion for a big reunion party before the shepherds head off again to their solitude.

Djenne, the jewel of Mali.  

Nicknamed the "Jewel of the Niger",Djenne is indisputably the most beautiful city in Mali, and without doubtall of West Africa, and it's not...

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