Djenné or Jenné (both: jĕnāˈ) [key], town, S central Mali, on the Bani River. It is an agricultural market center. The nearby, pre-Islamic ruins of Jenné-Jeno, which at its height may have been a city of more than 15,000 people, date back to 250 B.C. In the 13th cent., Djenné itself became a great market for gold, slaves, and salt. It rivaled Timbuktu in prosperity and Muslim culture, and many merchants from North Africa were attracted to it. Djenné resisted a series of attacks by the kings of ancient Mali but finally fell c.1473. The city became an important center for Muslim learning in the 17th cent.; it was occupied by the French in the late 19th cent. There are numerous archaeological sites and several examples of Muslim architecture, including a fine mosque that is the largest mud-brick building in the world.
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