See places in Mali


Country: Mali
Region: Timbuktu
Location: 16 ° 46 ’24”N 2 ° 59′ 58”W
Height: 263 m above sea-level
Population (2004)
• Population: 35 900

Twin Cities:
Germany, Chemnitz
United States, Tempe

Timbuktu (songhaj: Tumbutu, fr. Tombouctou) – a town in Mali, Niger river, probably founded in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries, inhabited by 35 900 persons (2004). It is the capital of the region of Timbuktu, one of the seven administrative regions of Mali.

For centuries, Timbuktu was a center of intense trade between sub-Saharan Africa and the Berber and Islamic North Africa, and through it also with Europe. Due to the relative inaccessibility of the city, it became widespread in the semi-mythical image of Timbuktu as a distant and exotic place.

Timbuktu was established as a seasonal settlement by nomadic Tuareg people. Thanks to its favorable location on routes transsaharyjskich settlement expanded rapidly. Was traded gold, ivory, slaves, salt and other goods. Timbuktu was a major medieval town of several African countries: Ghana, Mali, and Songhaj. Its golden age of the sixteenth century. It was then that the legend of the riches of this city have encouraged Europeans to discover this part of Africa. And it was the emergence of European travelers and traders contributed to the fall of the city. Trade by sea was a much better alternative than wandering across the Sahara – the largest desert in the world. The fall deepened even Morysków invasion in 1591, mercenaries in the service of the Sultan of Morocco. Arriving back in the nineteenth century, travelers from Europe could see only a small village with houses made of clay pobudowanymi.

In private collections and public libraries of Timbuktu’s manuscripts, 150 000. Some of them come from the thirteenth century. Scientists believe that lie under the sands of the Sahara, thousands of letters. These texts provide a wealth of both literary and scientific region. They include both textbooks for mathematics and astronomy as well as writings dealing with the social and economic life in Timbuktu during the Golden Age. Then it was an academic center whose faculty, Sankore, attended by 25 000 students.

South Africa launched an initiative called “Operation Timbuktu”, within which is building a new library for the Ahmed Baba Institute. The collections also help save the United States and Norway.

Due to its illustrious history in 1988, Timbuktu was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List

Owianym equally legendary city of Timbuktu was just what El Dorado. But Timbuktu really exists.

The town was founded about a thousand years ago, in the eleventh century, initially as a seasonal settlement of the Tuareg, the Sahrawi people, who alone dared to wander across the Sahara from the Mediterranean coast almost to the Gulf of Guinea.
City Trade

Tuareg caravans since Roman times wandered from town in present-day northern Algeria, Tunisia and Libya through the Atlas Mountains, Ahaggar, highlands and deserts, including sandy and devoid of life ergi Tanezrouft. If you went to Libya by the former Ghanaian Ahaggar (today’s Mali and Senegal), then to Niger was approaching, near Timbuktu. Also in this spot above the river, while wandering from Numidia to Benin.

And all the same, or Mali or Ghana, or Songhaj, Timbuktu has always been one of the major cities in the country. But never the most important. Not least because it is a city Tuaregs. And this people has always refused to recognize any authority over them. And now especially power Negro. Negro meant solely for Tuareg slave or recipient of goods, never the ruler.

Tuareg traded everything. To the north they were carrying gold, ivory, slaves, south – salt (to be exchanged for gold in the weight ratio of 1:1) and the Arab and Berber art and utility products. Timbuktu flourished. And not just as a city transit trade.

First of all, as a city of science. It was operated in Timbuktu Sankore next Fez, Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus, one of the major Muslim universities. It was built in 989 years, when a local judge Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar received from the Mandingo ruler providing finance college, which is famous far beyond Africa. The combination of wealth and Mandingów Timbuktu was a huge complex of buildings. But today shape the university received in the twelfth century, when the mosques were created (and at one madrassa, or school) and Sankore Dżingereber courtyard modeled on that of Mecca. Even the size was identical. Just play the Kaaba has been measured using the rope …

Attracted to the city of scientific experts around the Muslim world. Taught here, among others. Baba Ahmed al philosophers Massufi, and lawyer Mohammed Bagayogo Modibo Mohammed Al Kaburi. But beware: this is not the Arabs, but the locals, Songhajowie, Fulbe and Tuareg. The University had 25,000 students (in the city was about one hundred thousand inhabitants) and the 400-700 college library consisted of thousands of items from all fields of knowledge. Studied grammar, mathematics, geography, history, physics, astronomy, chemistry, law, philosophy, economics, business ethics and of course the Koranic theology. At the end of graduate studies diploma instead of getting a special turban, after which graduates Sankore recognize how Harvard graduates today after ties.

Over time, trade in this city came to know of such a consideration that is not salt or gold have become in the greatest value, but the book. Social status is not determined the size of the treasury, but the library. No wonder that in private hands were twice as many manuscripts.

Sankore University is named, but it is a wrong name. Sankore is the name of the mosque, at which she was one of the madrassas (schools). The other was the mosque of Sidi Jahja and Dżingereber.

Timbuktu flourished to the end of the sixteenth century. Then the sultan of Morocco, fell into financial trouble, the Jews who have mastered the Moroccan industry, suddenly “went bankrupt”. He had to save the state, sending an expedition to the legendary Timbuktu, which was said to be flowing with gold. This invasion of 1591 was the beginning of fall. For voyages of Portuguese and then Dutch Moroccans and Turks have shown, who mastered the North Africa, that maritime transport is much cheaper than pull the caravans of Timbuktu Tuaregs. And just such a half-buried in sand, a sleepy village saw the first Europeans.
Forbidden City

Timbuktu myth born of unavailability. For several hundred years the city was inaccessible to the unbelievers. A and Muslims, if they were not Tuareg, reluctantly ventured here. Because the city yes, the famous, but you can for him do not reach, they would die of thirst in the sands of the Sahara. No wonder that one could “impunity” to talk about the sidewalks of gold in Timbuktu, because nobody had a chance to verify this. Tuareg desert guarded secrets of their routes. Anyone who has ventured too far, was lost. That was until recently. Even in the nineteenth century explorers traversing the Sahara had big problems to get to Timbuktu and then go back. The famous British explorer Mungo Park in 1806 in his last visit just crossed the Niger across the city, attacked from all sides by the natives, he had no chance of landing. The first European who certainly (because those who claimed that they were, there are many, ranging from 1402 years, but their relationships are more or less unreliable) was in Timbuktu, was a British officer Alexander Gordon Laing. It was in this city in 1826. But soon after he was killed by a Tuareg’s, and wrote nothing. Two years later came to Timbuktu disguised as an Arab Frenchman René Caillié. But his relationship so far deviate from the circulation of myths, it was considered unbelievable. Believe in him after death, when in the years 1853 to 1854 he was in Timbuktu German explorer Heinrich Barth. He managed to stay so long for one reason only, and was under the protection of the Sidi Ahmad al Baqqai, religious leader enjoying a huge mir so that, although Amadu Amadu, fulbejski (Fulbe – negro tribe of West Africa), the ruler Maciny Barth gave the death sentence , it was not able to get his way. Barth not only confirmed that Timbuktu is a city almost failed, but sparked the interest of scholars, writing that, in the city and the sand beneath the city are thousands of old, extremely valuable manuscripts.

Today, survived the approximately 150 thousand. Probably several times that lie hidden in the sand since the invasion of Moroccans. Their prospecting, exploring and sharing deal with South Africa, which with the help of the United States and Norway Ahmed Baba Library building. But the serious competitor are private collectors from around the world willing to pay more money for the precious manuscript.

Even long after the war, the city of Timbuktu was dangerous for whites. Tuareg, forced to abandon the traditional nomadic lifestyle, because the Sahara was divided between the Arab and Negro state, periodically stir up insurrection. Recent (in Niger), ended in 2009 and there is little evidence that this was the end. In Timbuktu every year since 1997 to honor the year before the end of the Tuareg uprising in Mali. Celebrations are held at the Flames of Peace, a monument cast from melted tuareskich three thousand rifles. But in Mali Tuareg at any time may arise. The cause of another rebellion could be anything that violates the pride of the sons of the Sahara.

Timbuktu is located on the border of two powerful regions of the Sahara desert and the lush savannah of the Sudan. This slim, półpustynny belt stretching from the mouth of the Senegal, through Timbuktu, Constance valley, plateau Darfur, and northern Eritrea, known as the Sahel. It is also the contact of two great cultural regions, North African, Arab and Berber Maghreb and Black Africa.

It is so only says that Timbuktu is situated on the Niger. Indeed, from the city into the mainstream of the river is about 20 kilometers. Over the river is the place Kabara, a river port for Timbuktu. Once the two cities were connected by canal. Not artificial, natural, Timbuktu Maciny lies on the edge, the inner Niger delta, cut by just such channels. This, however, when deteriorated Timbuktu, not used often, slowly zamulał, plied him with sand desert, until now there has not been followed. Only on satellite photos you can see that something was once there.

As befits the Sahara, Timbuktu has a dry desert climate. The average annual rainfall of 160 mm “manufactured” are in the summer. Temperature ranges from a minimum of 12 degrees in January to 42 degrees (average maximum temperature) in May. Fluctuations are significant, for example, in January, the day may even be above 30 degrees, and at night the 12th

Talking Timbuktu, we think of Tuaregach. It’s very mysterious people. These are not the blacks, but whites (except that in acute darkening desert sun) Berbers. But anthropologists regard the Berbers as an intermediate race between a white and black. For more than a thousand years profess Islam, but their society is matriarchal, a woman has more to say than the man. And it obscures the faces of men. Tuaregs are also your alphabet, different from the others, and if you would want him at any price comparisons, it is most similar to the Greek. They live in the heart of the Sahara, in Algeria, Libya, Mali and Niger.

Although the Tuareg Timbuktu is a city, they are here only “way”. As everywhere anyway. The valley of the Niger near Timbuktu is a land of Songhai, a relative of Mandingami people, but culturally similar to the Tuaregs, who from the seventh to the sixteenth century, created a powerful state over Niger. Nearby resident remembered Mandingowie especially esteemed by the Arabs and the Europeans as slaves because of the strength. Also they look to the town Fulbe (Fulani), nomadic pastoral people who colonized the entire sawannową part of West Africa, and Bambara, agricultural people, known for its magnificent sculptures. We all profess Islam.

Timbuktu today is a shadow of its former power. Only 32 thousand inhabitants, or one third of the population hundreds of years ago, but still called the Pearl of the Desert and the City of 333 Saints. With its former glory were three medieval mosques, Sankore, Sidi Jahja and oldest Dżingereber. All are made of baked clay is not. And after every big rain (fortunately not too often happens) need to be renewed, would not … dissolved. A similar technology is built the whole city. And the whole town looks exactly like the days of glory.

Timbuktu is still an important trade fair center. Traded – like ages ago – salt, cloth, leather and handicraft tuareskim and negro. Only that camels are being replaced by trucks.

The city had been seeking to find the list of new seven wonders of the world, but lost to the masses of objects rozleniwionych holidaymakers. Because Timbuktu is still only for chosen ones.

It is true that in many valuable monuments (mosques, madrassa), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site was inscribed the legend