The Larabanga mosque is the oldest and one of the most beautiful mosques in Ghana. It is located in the Islamic town of Larbanga, 15 kilometres north of Damongo and 4 kilometres south of the Mole National Park in the West Gonja District.
Built from mud and reeds, the seventeenth-century structure is one of the most revered sites in Ghana. The architectural design of the mosque is based on traditional Sudanic-Sahelian style.
It is has been a pilgrimage site for Ghana’s growing Muslim population for many years now.
The history behind the famous mosque is cloaked in mystery. According to legend, Ayuba, a trader of Moorish origins, was travelling across the Sahara in 1421 century when he spent the night in the village of Larabanga.
He was instructed in a dream to build a mosque in the village of Larabanga, however, by the time he awoke from sleep the foundation of the mosque had already been laid.
Each side of the building has a separate entrance: one for men, one for women, one for Larabanga’s chief, and one for the muezzin who calls the community to prayer.
By the 1970s the mosque had deteriorated to a deplorable state and was reconstructed with cement to strengthen the walls. Soon, termites began to eat their way through the woods almost destroying the edifice.
However, through the collective efforts of the World Monuments Fund, the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, and American Express, local artisans were employed to apply mud to the mosque instead of cement.