After Koi Konboro, the 26th monarch of Djenné, converted to Islam, the structure was initially constructed in 1280. It remained intact until Cheikou Amadou, a conservative Islamic warrior monarch, allowed it to fall into ruin at the beginning of the 19th century. The original design, which functioned as a symbol of Djenné's riches and cultural significance, is faithfully preserved in the present form, a classic of Sahel-style (or Sudanese) mud-brick architectureIn addition to supporting the ladders and planks used during the yearly repairs to the mud-render, the wooden spars that protrude from the walls also contribute to the construction. This labor is done at the end of each rainy season under the supervision of expert masons, and up to 4000 volunteers may participate. Inside, over half of the floor area is taken up by a forest of wooden columns supporting the roof. Light beams can pass through a lattice of tiny holes in the roof that are covered by ceramic pots during the rainy season..