The Larabanga Mud Mosque

in architecture •  3 months ago  (edited)
A fascinating structure purported to be the oldest in Ghana, the famous mud mosque of Larabanga dates back to the 14th century. As it was right along our path to the Mole National Park, we couldn't avoid paying a visit. But although the mosque itself was incredible, this was one of the most irritating experiences we had in Ghana.

The problem with Larabanga is its popularity. This is by far the most famous mosque of its kind in Ghana, prominently featured in any guide to the country. Although there are similar mosques in other spots (with similar claims to antiquity), Larabanga is found just outside the entrance to the Mole National Park, and so it's the one most tourists visit. And these tourists, with the natural propensity to embellish their own experience, breathlessly relate their journey to Ghana's "oldest" mosque, the "most amazing" one, which you have to see because they saw it and it was just life-changing. Which sends other tourists. Soon enough Larabanga is the only mud mosque anybody knows about.

That would be fine, but for the locals. Of course they're going to take advantage of something so popular; it would be silly not to. So, a visit to Larabanga becomes an exercise in willpower and restraint. From the moment we left the taxi, we knew we were in trouble, as five different guys approached us. We ignored them and went straight to the mosque's entrance, where it clearly says "10 Cedi Ticket". They charged us 15 apiece. "The price has changed." Then another 20 Cedi to take pictures. Another 50 to fly the drone.

Money's money, and I get it, they've got a community to feed. But what ruined the experience irreparably was the "tour". Our guide explained the history of Larabanga Mosque for three minutes, then spent the next thirty trying to sell us on other experiences. Visit the eco-park! I'll take you on a canoe ride. Watch women make shea butter. Watch them make pottery. Help support our soccer team! We need a new soccer ball, will you buy us one? Why not? It's not expensive for you! Come on! Well, the school needs support, so help with that instead! Speaking of education, I'm trying to save money to get to university, learning is so important don't you think? I just need another $1000.

Jürgen had left to fly his drone as soon as the tour started to get scammy, so I had to endure this onslaught on my own. It brought me to the very edge of my patience, but I preserved my composure, politely shrugging off every advance. However, this did ruin the experience so completely that when I now hear "Larabanga" I react with an involuntary shiver of hatred. Really a shame, because the mosque itself was as strange and unique as we'd expected. A bright white rectangle with pyramidal towers, decorated with geometric black shapes, and supported by logs, it's clearly the product of an architect who never met the European schools.

So, is Larabanga worth seeing? Almost definitely -- and if you're aware of the hassle up front, that goes a long way. But if possible, try and hunt down one the area's other mud mosques; we've heard that Bole Mosque is similar in age and style, but has absolutely none of the annoyances. There are others in Banda Nkwanta and Maluwe -- none of these we'd have the chance to see, but we'd welcome any comments from those of you who have.

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

It definitely is an unusual architecture for a mosque!!! From outside it looks a mix between a "fort" and a house. Simply original!

We would loved to be able to go inside .... and yes, totally agree is's very unique.

I guess it was a pity to not have visited inside. Even if you could not go inside you did a good job

What an interesting building wow

That's just gorgeous!! Nice photos :)

Thank you!!!

So cool and unique! Never seen something like this before :)

We wish now that we had more time to explore some of the other mud mosque of Ghana.

Congratulations, Your Post Has Been Added To The Steemit Worldmap!
Author link:
Post link:

Want to have your post on the map too?

  • Go to Steemitworldmap
  • Click the code slider at the bottom
  • Click on the map where your post should be (zoom in if needed)
  • Copy and paste the generated code in your post
  • Congrats, your post is now on the map!

Hi, @for91days!

You just got a 8.7% upvote from SteemPlus!
To get higher upvotes, earn more SteemPlus Points (SPP). On your Steemit wallet, check your SPP balance and click on "How to earn SPP?" to find out all the ways to earn.
If you're not using SteemPlus yet, please check our last posts in here to see the many ways in which SteemPlus can improve your Steem experience on Steemit and Busy.

Hiya, @choogirl here, just swinging by to let you know that this post made into our Honorable Mentions in Daily Travel Digest #531.

Your post has been manually curated by the @steemitworldmap team. If you like what we're doing, please drop by to check out all the rest of today's great posts and consider upvoting and supporting us.

This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.
@c-squared runs a community witness. Please consider using one of your witness votes on us here

Hi @for91days!

Your post was upvoted by @steem-ua, new Steem dApp, using UserAuthority for algorithmic post curation!
Your UA account score is currently 4.934 which ranks you at #1185 across all Steem accounts.
Your rank has improved 3 places in the last three days (old rank 1188).

In our last Algorithmic Curation Round, consisting of 192 contributions, your post is ranked at #56.

Evaluation of your UA score:
  • Some people are already following you, keep going!
  • The readers like your work!
  • Good user engagement!

Feel free to join our @steem-ua Discord server