The minaret of this ancient structure is supposed to be the second oldest in continuous use anywhere in the Muslim world.
Architecturally, the structure features a prayer room with four aisles as well as a double-niched symbolic door, or mihrab pointing towards Mecca and an open courtyard. Among its most distinctive characteristics are its spare, unmortared, split stone masonry, its square minaret tower, and its conscious lack of ardornment, keeping with the strict Malikite beliefs of the city's founders. The mosque and its minaret is popularly considered the national emblem of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.
In the 1970s the mosque was restored through a UNESCO effort, but it, along with the city itself, continues to be threatened by intense desertification.