Djenne is a town and commune in Mali, capital of Djenne, located in the Mopti region 574 kilometers from Bamako to the east, by the road. Djenne is at the crossroads between the nomadic world and the sedentary world. It is located 130 km from Mopti, and 500 km by river from the caravan town of Timbuktu to which it is linked commercially.
Djenne is built on an island of 88 hectares, between two arms of Bani, a tributary of the Niger. It is located down a dam 23 km, which ends on the banks of the Bani. To reach the main road linking Bamako to Mopti, it is necessary to take a ferry.
Jenne knows a Sahelian climate. Annual rainfall averages are 400 and 600 mm.The city of Djenne has 14 196 inhabitants in 2005 against 10 275 in 19762. Different ethnic groups are present in Djenne: Songhai, Fulani, Bambara, Sarakolés, Bozo, Dogon and Mossi.
The city of Djenne is in the Inner Niger Delta in Mali, called Pondo. The Pondo over 35 000 km2. It is located in the Mopti region traversed by two major rivers, the Niger and Bani, whose numerous tributaries streak this vast plain regularly flooded.
Delta has a very low gradient (1 to 5 cm / km) which gives the river this possibility of wandering and the formation of lake areas of bourgoutières. The levees never flooded, reduced, are inhabited: Djenne, the genius of the language bozo water is one of those cities. Niger and Bani rivers are exogenous in Mali: they have their source in Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire. The rain that falls at the source at the beginning of the summer fattening rivers in September in Bamako, Mopti October, in December and January in Timbuktu to Gao. The low slope allows water to infiltrate and increases humidity (30% to 75%) on a river, thus making these attractive places for humans who settled there . He can engage in agriculture, whose rhythm is patterned after floods. The production factor is very uncertain for all: the floods do not come at the same time, same place and on the same scale from one year to another. Despite this constant source of water, the climate remains difficult and does not allow to have a vegetative cover, much less an annual agriculture. The worst time is at the end of the dry season in April and May, when it is dry and hot. Malian call it "solder".
The area was occupied from the third century BC. BC, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological sites (65 identified) in a 5 km radius around the current city. The most important are Kaniana, Tonomba and Djenne-Djenno discovered by archaeologists Americans, Mr. and Mrs. Mac Intosch in 1980, considered the ancient city of Djenne.
The historian John Iliffe (Africans, History of a continent) quotes Djenne as economic city at the crossroads of trade routes leading to the northern savannah and the southern forest to end the third century, well before the Islamization of this region. The excavations of archaeological sites have shown that the inhabitants worked iron ore, and had built houses of adobe. The cemeteries were many, and the study of these tombs has shown that social organization was somewhat hierarchical.The city of Djenne was built near Djenne-Djenno at the end of the ninth century by Bozo. A legend tells of a girl named Tapama Kayantao, become Tapama Djenepo, "the martyrdom of Djénné" was locked alive in a tomb of the wall surrounding the city, at the door of Kanafa, where the tomb still exists, World Heritage Site, managed by UNESCO to protect the city and ensure its prosperity (the water spirit who gives his name to the city would collapse the houses of adobe and it is the sacrifice of the girl would have to erect the city).
The specific architecture of the city of Djenne was inscribed in 1988 in this city on the UNESCO list of World Heritage.
The buildings are made of adobe. Pieces of wood, "terrons" through walls. The Barey called Masons are the undisputed masters of architecture of Djenne.
The researcher and architect Abdoulaye Touré explained that façade elements represent the different members of the family: father, mother and children. Thus the number of points is the number of children.
The houses, which generally include a floor can have a toucouleur façade (with a canopy) or Moroccan. Today, despite the protection imposed by the inscription on the World Heritage List, modern buildings in cement misrepresent the Old Town.