Sidi Yahiya Mosque, Timbuktu, Mali 

Sidi Yahya is a mosque and madrassa of Timbuktu in the West African country of Mali which finished construction in 1440. Sidi Yahya along with Djinguereber and Sankore compose the “University” of Timbuktu. Sidi Yahya’s mausoleum was destroyed on 2 July 2012 following the Battle of Gao and Timbuktu. The sacred legend of this holy site states that the “End of The World” main gate of Sidi Yahya mosque would not be opened until the last day (of the world), or end times

Sidi Yahya is named for its first imam and head professor Sidi Yahya (also called Sidi Yahya Tadelsi or Sidi Yahya Al Andulusi). The mosque is located south of the more famous Sankoré Mosque. Construction of the Sidi Yahya mosque was begun in 1400 by Sheikh El-Mokhtar Hamalla in expectation of a great holy person. It took 40 years to complete. In 1441 Mohamed Naddah, the city-governor of Timbuktu, appointed his close friend Sidi Yahya as its first imam. This marked the beginning of the mosque as a madrassa and a great center of learning for the region.

In the summer of 2012, members of Ansar Dine broke down the doors of the mosque, which according to legend were not to be opened until the end times. They claimed that the reverence for the site was idolatrous, but offered roughly $100 US dollars to repair the mosque.;

Epic Mali Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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