The dramatic 17-m pyramidal structure of the Tomb of Askia was built by Askia Mohamed, the Emperor of Songhai, in 1495 in his capital Gao. It bears testimony to the power and riches of the empire that flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries through its control of the trans-Saharan trade, notably in salt and gold. It is also a fine example of the monumental mud-building traditions of the West African Sahel. The complex, including the pyramidal tomb, two flat-roofed mosque buildings, the mosque cemetery and the open-air assembly ground, was built when Gao became the capital of the Songhai Empire and after Askia Mohamed had returned from Mecca and made Islam the official religion of the empire.
Criteria for inclusion as a World Heritage Site
|ii||To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design.||All|
|iii||To bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.||All|
|iv||To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history.||All|
About the source: UNESCO
Within UNESCO's broad remit, this specialised agency of the UN works towards international cooperation agreements to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage, designating venues of exceptional value as World Heritage Sites.