8 mosques in Ivory Coast added to UNESCO's World Heritage list
Eight mosques in the West African nation of Ivory Coast have been granted World Heritage status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
These mosques are believed to have originated in the Mali Empire seven centuries ago.
The mosques in the towns of Tengréla, Kouto, Sorobango, Samatiguila, M’Bengué, Kong and Kaouara “are the best conserved of 20 such edifices that remain in Ivory Coast, where hundreds existed early last century,” UNESCO says.
Their new status means they are considered to have universal cultural value that will grant them extra protection.
Two of these mosques are located in the city of Kong in northern Ivory Coast.
The mosques were built in Sudanese architectural style, made of ocher-colored clay: the small Barrola mosque and the large mosque of Kong or Missiriba.
The heat in this area of the Ivory Coast is intense and it is surprising that the interior of the mosques is relatively fresh.
The Kong Mosque or Grand Mosque of Kong, called Missiriba, was built in neo-Sudanese style, using mud and logs. It is the oldest mosque in northern Ivory Coast and has maintained its function as a place of prayer and assembly to nowadays.
The exact year of foundation is not known but some texts reveal that already in 1741 Kong had several mosques including the Grand Mosque.
Mosques are the most important buildings in every city and village in Islamic countries. These religious landmarks have always had a significant role in the lives of Muslims.
In addition to being a place of prayer and worship, many mosques provide social, educational, financial and marital services.