World's Most Beautiful Buildings
Corbis Bridge / Alamy
Great Mosque, Djenne, Mali
sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest city, Djenne, you’ll find a monumental mosque built
from mud bricks (and held together with more mud) by the Dogons, an African
people who use mud as ancient Romans used marble. Mosques have been built on
this site, the center of what was once a prosperous trading city, since the 13th century A.D.; the present Great Mosque, overlooking the market square, dates
from 1906. Each spring, local masons maintain the mosque by applying a new
layer of mud.
Ornament: Each of the mosque’s towers is
topped with the local form of architectural decoration, an ostrich egg,
symbolizing fertility or good fortune.