Great Mosque of Mopti Restored
The keys to the Mosque were handed over to Mali’s Minister of Culture, in a ceremony symbolising the completion of the work.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) handed over the keys of the Great Mosque of Mopti in a ceremony attended by Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Mali’s Minister of Culture, recently and several other dignitaries and specialists involved in the restoration of the building. Following a guided tour of the mosque, the authorities reviewed the completed restoration work along with the head of the project at the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and Férid Nandjee, AKDN’s Resident Representative in Mali. The keys to the Mosque were handed over to Cheick Oumar Sissoko in a ceremony symbolising the completion of the work. The Minister then presented the keys to Kissima Touré, head of the village of Mopti in a ceremony witnessed by leading figures of the city. In their speech, Cheick Oumar, Férid Nandjee and Francesco Siravo praised the success of the restoration project, which started in November 2004.
It was following a visit to Mali by Aga Khan in October 2003 that a technical team identified the extent and urgency of the structural problems of Mopti’s Great Mosque, also known as Komoguel Mosque. The restoration works carried out between November 2004 and June 2006 were conducted in strict observance of traditional construction techniques.
The Great Mosque of Mopti, which was officially listed as part of the country’s cultural heritage in 2005, is an imposing earthen structure built in the traditional Sudanese style between 1936 and 1943 on the site of an earlier mosque dating from 1908. The restoration work comprised a number of different phases: the complete reconstruction of the roof, stabilisation of the upper part of the building which had been damaged by the inappropriate use of cement in a previous restoration effort in 1978, repairing the earthen brickwork, applying a traditional coating made by mixing earth with rice husks called banco pourri; rebuilding the parapet and the pinnacles of the terrace, removing and partly renovating the outer earthen coatings, which were in a state of disrepair; renovating the outer courtyard. Plumbing was installed in the courtyard along with a fountain for the worshippers’ use. The interior of the Mosque has also been substantially improved. The Mosque has also been given new doors of high-quality seasoned wood.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) implements initiatives aimed at revitalising the heritage of the Islamic world, contributing to social and economic development. The AKTC draws on extensive expertise gained in the restoration of traditional buildings in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Syria and Zanzibar. For more details, contact: Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), 1-3, Avenue de la Paix, 1202, Geneva, Switzerland, Ph. 0041-22-909-7200, e-mail: sam.pickens@ akdn.org