A visit to Djenne often begins with a walk around the famous Mosque. The present building dates from 1907 although its antecedents go back to the 12th century. It is the largest mud construction in the world. Every year the population of Djenné unites in a joyous festival when the mosque is replastered with mud : Le Crepissage de la Mosquée.
To the north of the mosque lies the Djenné Manuscript Library. It is the home of the ancient manuscripts of the town. Djenné is at the beginning of its voyage of discovery of its manuscripts and the potential is not yet realized. The Library contains only a small part of the town’s estimated 10,000 manuscripts.
Continuing the walk northward from the mosque, an impressive building becomes visible on the left : the newly constructed Djenné Museum will soon offer an interesting choice of permanent and temporary exhibitions on various aspects of the town’s cultural life.
In the narrow streets of the ancient quarters to the west and the east of the Mosque many traditional buildings enchant the visitor as they rise like sand castles, evoking the history of the town with their Moroccan and Toucolor facades. Amongst the most beautiful is La Maison Maiga, the ancient seat of the village chief. You will discover the legend of the House of the Three Wells, and a visit to Djenné will not be complete without a moments contemplation before the Tomb of the Young Girl Tapama, who was sacrificed at the foundation of the town to save it from bad spirits.
A km to the south of the present town lies the archaeological site of Djenne Djeno, the first town of Djenne. A visit to this site can be arranged by La Mission Culturelle, which is situated nearby on the road towards the Bani river, and which also houses an interesting museum dedicated to Djenne Djeno.