Founded in 1250 on the Bani River, Djenne (pronounced jen-AY) claims to be the oldest city in West Africa. In its day, it was as important as Timbuktu. Reflective of its past glory is the Great Mosque, which was built in the early 20th century on the site of earlier structures. This enormous, otherworldly landmark, built from smooth, beige mud, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the largest mud structure in the world, and it has to be repaired every time it rains. Tourists are sometimes not allowed inside the mosque—you'll increase your chances of getting in if you are modestly dressed and inquire politely.
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