SRISHTI WASANBHANU MITTALHARSHITA AGARWAL2ND YEAR - B
The Ghana Empire was the firstEmpire to form in the area thatwas to become Mali. It wascontrolled by the Soninkepeople, who are thenorthernmost Mandepeople,who might have been inpower as early as the fourthcentury A.D., but the firstwritten source mentioning theGhana Empire was from the830s A.D.
Ghana was to the north of the Upper Niger river on the trade routes that carried salt and gold across the Sahara to the Mediterranean Sea. In Arabic, the word Ghana is associated with gold and it is apparent that the Arab conquest of North Africa brought Islam as well as the trans-Saharan trade capabilities to the Ghana Empire. Through trade with Arab merchants from the north the Ghana Empire gained wealth and influence in the present day Mali region. The region was rich in gold and salt,which came from mines of the sahara, and its acquisition meant that Ghana would become a leading force in the trans-Saharan trade network.
The name of the state was originally known as Wagadou by its rulers, but one of the kings titles "Ghana" meant war chief. Each succeeding king was known by his own name and also by the title of Ghana. Another important title of the king was Kaya Maghan. This means "Lord of the gold" because he controlled the export of the valuable metal. The kings main duties were to organise the trade and keep good relations with the Saharan traders. GOLD RESERVES
Next came an expansion of Serahule power over neighboring peoples who were also involved in trade. The wider the territory the Serahule could control, the more prosperous they would be. The kings of Ghana were able to make more kings or chiefs obey their laws and pay them taxes which increased the wealth of Ghana. With more wealth the kings of Ghana had more power and could command the services of many descent lines. They could raise big armies and employ large numbers of messengers and other servants.
Ghana was successful as a political state in northwest Africa forseveral reasons: It was controlled by powerful rulers who had strong centralized powers. Those rulers were able to effectively control the gold trade. The rulers adhered to their ancestral religion, the religion of the people of the Empire, but did not exclude the Muslim merchants who were living there. This kept good relations with the people who were essential to the Trans-Saharan trade and the lifeline of Ghana.The Ghana Empire fell in 1078 to the Almoravids who werenomads Muslims from the north. Within a century the oncepowerful Ghana Empire had returned to its previous state.
A CARVEDWOODEN PEOPLE OF GHANAFIGURE OF AMAN, THAT MADE IN LAST-WAXWAS AFFIXED PROCESS, THIS ANCIENTTO THE TOP OF BRONZE BRACELET WASCEREMONIAL EXCAVATED.STAFF.
At Kumbi Saleh, locals lived indomed-shaped dwellings in thekings section of the city,surrounded by a great enclosure.Traders lived in stone houses in asection which possessed 12beautiful mosques (as described byal-bakri), one centered on Fridayprayer. DWELLING AT KUMBI SALEH VIEW OF KUMBI SALEH
The king is said to have owned several mansions, one of which was sixty-six feet long, forty-two feet wide, contained seven rooms, was two stories high, and had a staircase; with the walls and chambers filled with sculpture and painting. Sahelian architecture initially grew from the two cities of Djenné and Timbuktu. The Sankore Mosque in Timbuktu, constructed from mud on timber, was similar in style to the Great Mosque of Djenné.
At the height of Ghanas prosperity, before 1240 AD, the city of Kumbi Saleh was the biggest West African city of its day and had as many as 15,000 inhabitants. About 320 kilometres north of modern Bamako, Kumbi was a twin city with two separate centres 9.6 kilometres apart. The one part formed the Muslim Although the two towns were quarter where the North African linked by a continuum of merchants resided during their houses, they were distinct in trading missions to Ghana. character and function.
This was the main commercial area and their influence was apparent in the many stone built houses, the 12 mosques and the presence of many clerical scholars. So long as they obeyed the laws and paid their taxes, the traders were accorded safety and hospitality. This was a partnership in long-distance trade that lasted for a very long time. The other town of Kumbi, known as Al-Ghaba, was the more important for it was the administrative centre of the Serahule Empire and where the King of Ghana lived in his royal residence made of stone and decorated with paintings, carvings and fitted with glass windows.
The peaceful introduction of Islam in the early medieval era of Somalias history brought Islamic architectural influences from Arabia and Persia, which stimulated a shift from dry stone and other related materials in construction to coral stone, sundried bricks, and the widespread use of limestone in Somali architecture. Many of the new architectural designs such as mosques were built on the ruins of older structures, a practice that would continue over and over again throughout the following centuries.
One architectural feature that made mosques distinct from other mosques in Africa were minarets. For centuries, Arba Rukun (1269), the Friday mosque of Merca (1609) and Fakr ad-Din (1269) were, in fact, the only mosques in East Africa to have minarets. Fakr ad- FAKR AD-DIN (1269) Din, which dates back to the Mogadishan Golden Age, was built with marble and coral stone and included a compact rectangular plan with a domed mihrab axis. Glazed tiles were also used in the decoration of the mihrab, one of which bears a dated inscription.
The mosque was built in the 13thcentury by Moorish traders. It is believedthat a copy of Holy Quran descendeddirectly from heaven to this mosque. Thebook of Holy Quran is still kept inside themosque. Showing signs of Sudanese stylein its architecture, Larabanga Mosque isone of the most photographed buildingsin Ghana.Constructed primarily using packedearth, the mosque was built in a styleheavily influenced by western Sudanesearchitecture, characterized by the use ofhorizontal timber, pyramidal towers,buttresses, and triangular perforationsover entry portals
The building is a vast irregular quadrilateral, longer (with 127.60meters) from the eastern side than on the opposite side (with125.20 meters) and less wide (with 72.70 meters) on the northside (the minaret) that the opposite side (with 78 meters). Itcovers a total area of 9000 m2.
From the outside, the Great Mosque of Kairouan is a fortress-like building, whichrequired as much by its massive ocher walls of 1.90 metersthick composed of well-workedstones, courses of rubble stone and courses of baked bricks,as the square angle towers measuring 4.25 meters on each side andthe solid and projecting buttresses thatsupport and bind. More than a defensive role,the buttresses and towers fullserve more to enhance the stabilityof the mosque built on a soil subject to compaction.
Although a seemingly harsh, theexternal facades, punctuated withpowerful buttresses and toweringporches, some of which aresurmounted by cupolas, give to thesanctuary a striking aspectcharacterized by majestic sobriety
Although a seemingly harsh, the external facades, punctuated with powerful buttresses and towering porches, some of which are surmounted by cupolas, give to the sanctuary a striking aspect characterized by majestic sobriety. MOSQUE OF KAIOURAN MINARET IN EARLY 20TH CENTURY