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General News of Saturday, 26 October 2002

Source: gna

Larabanga Mosque to be restored

THE American Express Company, a global travel, financial and network services provider, has announced a grant of $50,000 to fund restoration of the Larabanga Mosque.

The grant was made through the World Monuments Watch programme of the New York-based World Monuments Fund (WMF).

The Larabanga Mosque, the oldest and venerated mosque in Ghana, was listed on the Year 2002 World Monuments watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.

The announcement ceremony took place in Accra, hosted by Afro Wings Limited, American Express’ travel partner in Ghana. The oldest and most venerated mosque in Ghana, the Larabanga Mosque continues to serve as an important pilgrimage site for the region’s Muslim community.

Constructed of mud-plaster and wood, the Larabanga site is the earliest of eight such mosques in Ghana. It is a masterpiece of Sudanese architecture, easily recognised by its horizontal timbers, which support pyramidal towers and buttresses.

Although the mosque has retained much of its architectural integrity, inappropriate restoration undertaken in the 1970s has damaged its structural fabric.

A layer of waterproof sand-cement was applied to the entire building, trapping moisture within its raw earthen walls, weakening them significantly. In addition, wooden support beams have become infested with termites, attracted by the high humidity. In the past three decades, parts of the mosque have collapsed.

This $50,000 grant from American Express will be devoted to reassessing the state of conversation of the site, and to funding a team of local artisans and labourers to restore the monument with special emphasis on reviving the knowledge of mud-plaster maintenance.

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