It is posslbie to visit the interior of the mosque for an entrance fee of 1.000CFA. The son of the imam showed us around. We could also climb to the rooftop. For me it was the first time to be allowed and enter a mosque made of mud from the inside.
In the main part of the mosque are corridors and huge columns. This is the praying section of the men. For the women is an open roofed place at the back side of the mosque to pray.
At the ceilings you can see the structure of trunks of mahogany wood. It was the first time I saw this construction. In other places I had seen how they built and replastered buildings, mostly mosques, with a mixture of mud, dung and straw.
Some boys looked after our shoes. They liked to get some small money after our visit of the interior of the mosque.
One of the highlights of Bobo is the Grande Mosquée built in 1893. It is an outstanding example of Sudanese mud architecture. The white structure with conical towers and its dark wooden sticks looks spectaculair. First in Bobo I found out that those sticks are for replastering and not only a part of the construction.
This old mosque of Bobo is the largest mosque in Burkina Faso. The King of Sya built the mosque after he was in trouble with the king of Kenedougou. In return of the military help he got from an Islamic religious leader Almamy Sidiki Sanou the king of Sya promised to build a town mosque. So he did after the king of Kenedougou was stopped 30 km in front of Sya.
Between the two villages of Ouahabou and Houndé alongside the national road N1 there is a small village named Boni.
Hidden in the second row of houses is a small but fine museum. It exhibit, among other, masks of the Mossi culture. Of course it is not the national museum, but it's always worth for a stop.
Not far a way is a restaurant, where cold beverages invites for a rest.
.... a big fishing event takes place 15km ahead of Bobo-Dioulasso on a small lake alongside the road N1.
When the water-level of the lake reached a certain level by evaporation, the officials allow the villagers to go for fishing.
The catfishes get trapped by a basket and than they can be easily caught and get out by hand trough the small opening at the upper side of the basket - wow well thought out.
By change we passed the lake at the right time and could take a lot of impressive pictures of the event.
For 1000F CFA you can visit the inside of the mosque.
If you are lucky you get guided by the Imam or his deputy - just put off your shoes and the tour can start.
The Grand Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso, a unique Sudanese mud architecture was built in 1880.
The interior consists of two praying sections - one for men, the other for women. The men section is divided into 4 column framed compartments, the women section is a more or less open roofed compartment in the back side.
Interesting are the construction of the ceilings - the tier of beam trunks of mahogany wood forms the base structure covered by a mixture of clay, dung and straw. This method of construction provides the roof enough stability to withstand rain and sun.
A interesting building - worth to visit it !
At the end of the guided tour you have to payout some coins for the boys, which took care for your shoes :)
By the way: The wooden brackets at the wall serves for climbing up to carryout renovation works !
The big market is in the center of town and hard to miss. If you enjoy checking out what the locals are selling and buying, then by all means visit this fairly easy going market(by African standards anyway). Although bustling and pretty big, this market is less claustrophobic and less jam packed as others in West Africa.
Taking a look around the old town in the Kibidoue district is interesting and worthwhile. You might as well hire a guide, as you will be asked nonstop until you've hired one. Here you will see a neighborhood of traditional dwellings in a winding maze of narrow alleys. Scattered about are sites where animal scarifices take place, as evidence by the bloody mess left behind. I was shown the local brewery, where the beer is boiled in a big vat inside a firey stone oven. Of course your guide will delight in showing you the local goods for sale, items such as jewelry, pottery, metalware etc. Thankfully it's pretty low pressure...so relax! You can't leave without having a good look at the old mosque, even though you won't be allowed inside.
From Bobo it's easy to catch a bus for Banfora in the morning and then return in the early evening. Banfora has a number of must see attractions, including the town itself, Karfiguela Falls, and Lake Tengrela, where hippos can be observed.
This old part of town should be an embarassment for the government due to it's terribly poor sanitation, but it is the historical center. Here drinking water, laundry, and garbage are all within a few feet of the other. When the Bobo tribes established the city as a neutral ground for trade and this neighborhood was formed before the French arrived in 1897. The Main mosque is just outside this part of town, so this area may actually pre-date the mosque. There's a "main street" and then by way of a winding path of stairs, a side street descends to a modest creek, perhaps what's left of the river after being tapped for fresh water further upstream.
Because of it's central location at the cross roads of numerous tribes, Bobo Dioulasso's Grand Marche has a great selection of tribal arts not only from Burkina Faso, but from all across West Africa. In the streets outside the market are also a number of such tribal art vendors. Within the market, one can browse the frabrics, motor parts, cooking utensils, electronics, and produce...
It's important to understand that West Africa is the front-line between Islam and Christianity. Ghana, to the south is mostly Christian, while Burkina Faso is mostly Muslim. But, these missionary efforts are relatively recent in Burkina Faso, which coverted in earnest to Islam sometime during the 18th century. Therefore, the great mosque, like the larger one in Djenne is only about a century old, symbolizing a peak in this established religious faith. Burkina Faso, like elsewhere in West Africa, clings to tribal beliefs, mixing them in with their Muslim or Christian learned faiths. Not surprisingly, the harmony between religious groups is quite good, and the Muslim here share no sympathy with radical Arab causes. Afterall, the NGOs from Europe and America are ultimately more giving than the deep pocketed Arab shieks. Unfortunately for this mosque, the recent restoration work is portland cement plaster over mud--a method that looks ugly and will mean greater restoration efforts further in the future. This method of restoration also suggests a certain lack of maintainence in general, because the wooden sticks or scaffolding are traditionally used for an annual layer of mud plaster.
Built in 1893, the Grande Mosquee is a nice example of mud mosques located in the Sahel region. When I was here you were allowed to go in but only at certain hours and I missed those hours. It is probaly one of the more important buildings in town and probaly one of the more important mosques in the region.
The oldest part of town. Some local guide took me around and showed me some of the sites. Saw a lot traditonal life here, walked across the river (more of a stream to a trickle when I was there) which I heard was a bit more of a dangerous area for muggings but saw nothing of the such. If you have a spare hour or so I recommend that you see this region of Bobo-Dioulaso.
Is a place where lots of people go to play percussion and African traditional instruments. There you can drink the mijo beer. Enjoy yourself and let yourself be free with the rhythm.
Es un lugar donde mucha gente va a tocar percusión e instrumentos tradicionales africanos. Aquí también podrás degustar la tradicional cerveza de mijo. Disfruta y dejate llevar por el ritmo de la música.
I provide here a few more portraits of the interesting people found on the streets of Bobo Dioulasso.