Revitalizing the mosques …

The work of revitalizing the mosques is gradually being extended to their surrounding neighbourhoods to include all residential accommodation situated in the shadow of the minarets. How wonderfully symbolic it is that the outcome of efforts to restore the mosques should be to improve the quality of life of the people whose lives follow the same rhythm as theirs!

The restoration of the Great Mosque of Mopti is the fruit of close collaboration between the Ministry of Culture and the National Cultural Heritage Department (DNPC), the regional and local authorities, the Mosque Committee and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and of the dedication of numerous professionals and craftspeople from architects and conservation experts to stone masons, brick-makers, plasterers, metal workers, potters and electricians.

This project has made it possible to combine modern heritage conservation techniques with the processes and materials traditionally employed in the construction of earth buildings. The participation in the project of the few stone masons who still practise banco pourri has meant that more than 30 young people have been trained in this traditional technique, thus ensuring that is handed down to the next generation.

This is especially relevant in Mali where there is a danger that traditional artisans will gradually disappear, taking with them the skills and knowledge accumulated by previous generations of builders. Hence, restoring this important monument has provided the opportunity to perpetuate a tradition and also to ensure the future conservation of built heritage with appropriate techniques, competently applied.

His Highness the Aga Khan, speech delivered at the ceremony of inauguration of the Great Mosque of Mopti

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