African Architecture


Great Zimbabwe
Aerial View
Herring Bone Designed Wall
    • Constructed of granite slabs.
    • Oldest monumental stone structure south of the Sahara 1000-520 B.P (1000-1480AD).
    • Consists of a series of walls and towers.
    • Massive stone masonry, without mortar.


Tomb of Askia Mohammed
Sankore Mosque at Timbuktu
Mosque at Jenne
    • Mud architecture with buttresses and parapets called toron
    • Found throughout the Mande world, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast.
    • Date from 1700-100 B.P (1300-1900 A.D).
    • Structures include tombs of religious leaders as well as mosques.
    • Structures have minarets that tower above their roofs.


Interior courtyard of house.
Interior room.
View of central courtyard.
    • Found in Mauritania.
    • Architecture made from stone and covered with adobe.
    • Houses have two stories, flat roofs and interior courtyards.
    • Exterior walls painted with red ochre and doors and windows decorated with curvilinear patterns.
    • Interior of rooms painted white with red motifs. 
    • Motifs inspired by the Arabic script and referred to as arabesques.
    • Painted by Soninke women.


Bamileke architecture
detail with sculptures


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This website was last modified September 5th, 2009. It was created and modified by Cynthia Becker, Bolaji Campbell and Janine Sytsma with Professor Henry Drewal.
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