Great Mosque of Kilwa

Great Mosque of Kilwa

The Great Mosque of Kilwa is a congregational mosque on the island of Kilwa Kisiwani, in Kilwa Masoko in Kilwa District in Lindi Region of Tanzania. It was likely founded in the tenth century, but the two major stages of construction date to the eleventh or twelfth and thirteenth century, respectively. It is one of the earliest surviving mosques on the Swahili coast and is one of the first mosques built without a courtyard.

The smaller northern prayer hall dates to the first phase of construction and was built in the 11th or 12th century. It contained a total of 16 bays, supported by nine pillars, originally carved from coral but later replaced by timber. The structure, which was entirely roofed, was perhaps one of the first mosques to have been originally built without a courtyard.

It was modified in the 13th century adding side pilasters, timber, transverse beams.

In the early fourteenth century, Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sulai...Read more

The Great Mosque of Kilwa is a congregational mosque on the island of Kilwa Kisiwani, in Kilwa Masoko in Kilwa District in Lindi Region of Tanzania. It was likely founded in the tenth century, but the two major stages of construction date to the eleventh or twelfth and thirteenth century, respectively. It is one of the earliest surviving mosques on the Swahili coast and is one of the first mosques built without a courtyard.

The smaller northern prayer hall dates to the first phase of construction and was built in the 11th or 12th century. It contained a total of 16 bays, supported by nine pillars, originally carved from coral but later replaced by timber. The structure, which was entirely roofed, was perhaps one of the first mosques to have been originally built without a courtyard.

It was modified in the 13th century adding side pilasters, timber, transverse beams.

In the early fourteenth century, Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman, who also built the nearby Palace of Husuni Kubwa, added a southern extension which included a great dome. This dome was described by Ibn Battuta after he visited Kilwa in 1331. Ibn Battuta's descriptions were not entirely accurate though, claiming that the mosque was completely made of wood, while stone walls were found to predate the fourteenth century.

While there were many buildings and structures made of stone such as the Great Mosque, discoveries of coins were first made. Each coin was under the name of 'Ali bin al-Hasan. Because all of the coins were under the same name, it is the most convincing confirmation that there is in order to identify the earliest form of a first ruler in Kilwa. Pots of these coins were also found inside of the walls of the mosque. This serves as proof that masonry was a form of commitment before these coins were common.

Early inscriptions were also found with early dates attached to them in which one of the dates marked the year 1269 the start of construction of the minaret of the Great Mosque.[1]

These coins that were found under 'Ali bin al-Hasan were found on the higher two levels of the mosque, suggesting that the mosque may have been built long before this sultan.[1] However, the initial rectangular shape of the mosque was said to have been built between 1131 and 1170.[2]

^ a b Chittick, Neville (1965). "The 'Shirazi' Colonization of East Africa". The Journal of African History. 6 (3): 275–294. doi:10.1017/S0021853700005806. JSTOR 180168. ^ Pradines, S. T. É. P. H. A. N. E. "Swahili Past in Peril: New Archaeology in East Africa." Journal of Oriental and African Studies 26 (2017).https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/55118773/PRADINES_Journal_Oriental_African_Studies_26_2017_pp211_236.pdf?response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DSwahili_Past_in_Peril_New_Archaeology_in.pdf&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A%2F20191203%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20191203T060221Z&X-Amz-Expires=3600&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Signature=c5c998e0dae80eb67378ceae5e0e1049a8c6792149cdcf7c940a2d3459b627c2
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