MMM's "Everything is Possible"

… … … life trail of a wanderer

Timbuktu, city of 333 saints

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints 

Today’s photographs of Timbuktu.  Arch of Timbuktu, modern buildings, shop and Coca-cola advertisement are the normal scene in Timbuktu  

 

Timbuktu or Tombouctou is a capital town of Tombouctou Region.  Timbuktu is the largest northern-most region of Mali, comprised mostly of the Southwestern section of the Sahara desert. The Timbuktu town is located at the southern edge of the Sahara, near the Niger River, which has headwaters in the highlands very near the Atlantic coast before its long 1500 mile journey to the northeast, before finally turning south to reach the Atlantic at Nigeria.

         

Timbuktu city of 333 saints

Signboard showing places of interest to visit in Timbuktu.  All are within walking distance

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints      Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

Some of the buildings of Songhai architectures in Timbuktu

 

The riches of the kingdom were due to Tombouctou’s position as the southern terminus of the trans-Sahara salt and gold trade route. It is home to the prestigious Sankore University and other madrassahs, and was an intellectual and spiritual capital and centre for the civilisation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its three great mosques, Sankore, Djingery Ber built in 1327 and Sidi Yahya built in the 1441, still standing magnificent, recall Timbuktu’s golden age.  Muslim scholars in Timbuktu were known for their contribution to Islam and world civilization. By the fourteenth century, important books were written and copied in Timbuktu, establishing the city as the centre of a significant written tradition in Africa.  Ibn Battuta the well known muslim traveller also had visited Timbuktu in 1353.

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints 

 Plague commensurate the place and house visited by Ibn Battuta in 1353.  One of many private bibliotheque which still keeping the ancient manuscripts and street view of Timbuktu showing the influence of the Morrocan invasion

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints

 Djingarey Ber Mosque

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints   Timbuktu city of 333 saints   Timbuktu city of 333 saints

Some of the tombs of 333 saints 

 

Timbuktu is populated by Songhai, Touareg, Fulani, Bella, Moure and Mandé people, and is about 20 km north of the Niger River. It is also at the intersection of an east–west and a north–south Trans-Saharan trade route. Timbuktu was once the most important trading post in the Sahara, a meeting point for caravans of camels as they carried salt, ivory, slaves, gold and untold riches along the Saharan trade route. It was important historically and still as an entrepot for rock-salt from Taoudenni.  Timbuktu is listed since 1988 as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints

 Sankoré Mosque

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

 Door and window of Songhai architecture

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

Songhai’s bowl for body cleaning.  They sit at centre of the bowl, the left bowl for women and at right for men.  Jewellery of Songhai and Touareg and ancient bracelet.  Exhibits of Timbuktu’s Municipal Museum

 

Timbuktu was established by the nomadic Touareg as early as the 10th century. According to a popular belief its name is made up of: tim which means “well” and buktu, the name of an old Malian woman known for her honesty and who once upon a time lived in the region to take in charge of the well. Touareg and other travelers would entrust this woman with any belongings for which they had no use on their return trip

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

The ‘well’ (tim), one of Songhai’s traditional music instruments.  Kalil Baber, the tour guide examines some of the scripts at Gordon Laing’s house. Kalil can be reached at kalil_baber@yahoo.fr or cellphone (+223) 6042123

  

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

Shy and not so shy of Timbuktu’s boys.  Danger sign on electricity pole that I have not seen in Bamako

 

Timbuktu was a important city in several successive empires: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire from 1324, and the Songhai Empire from 1468, the second occupations beginning when the empires overthrew Touareg leaders who had regained control. It reached its peak in the early 16th century, but the invasion by Sultan of Morocco in 1591 beginning of the crumbling of the ancient economy and centre of Islamic knowledge and civilisation.

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

Grand market of Timbuktu.  Businesses are more active outside compared than inside the market’s building

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

The salt slab.  Views of something interesting on the street

      

The most outstanding treasure at Timbuktu are over the 100,000 manuscripts kept by the descendants of the great Muslim scholars from the town. These manuscripts, some of them dated from pre-Islamic times and 12th century.  These manuscripts deal on law, medicine, astronomy, mathematic, sciences and history were written in Arabic and Bambara or Fulani.

 

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

Street view in Timbuktu.  Bella’s tents in town.  Bella used to works as slaves to Touareq until the French stop them but I saw Bella still works for Touareg.  Oven to bake Timbuktu’s bread ‘takoula’ that you see at every corner of Timbuktu

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

The carpenter at works.  Timbuktu’s street arts ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

Handicrafts market and some of the activities held and items for sale.

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

An evening at Timbuktu.  View of Sahara Desert and football is the most popular sport.  The photograph showing women are playing football in Timbuktu

 

Timbuktu city of 333 saints     Timbuktu city of 333 saints

The rice bowl of Timbuktu at Korïoume and 6.00am in Timbuktu

 

Timbuktu is an interesting place to visit, but its reputation as ‘the end of the world’ still holds many mysteries.  In 2007 Timbuktu was one of 21 finalist candidates of new 7 wonders of the world.  Tombouctou cite des 333 saints.  Tombouctou la mystérieuse.

 

mamadou

10 responses to “Timbuktu, city of 333 saints

  1. mamadou October 5, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Dear Suhael

    Thank you for your comment and suggestion. Will work on it soon.

    Thank you

  2. Shehryar Suhael September 29, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    It has been mentioned that there are a number of saints in Timbuktu; their names, however, have not been mentioned. It would be highly appreciated if you kindly give the names of as many saints as possible.

  3. mamadou July 9, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Dear Ayoh Awi

    Thank you for your comments and intention to visit Timbuktu. If not fascinating with treasure of civilisation, Timbuktu was not nominated and finalist of new 7 wonder of the world in 2007
    Thank you

  4. Zawi July 9, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Mamadou,
    Your post is a real eye opener. Jokes abot Timbuktu make it seems like a remote god forsaken place but I guess your revealtion change the myths.
    InsyaAllah Pak Zawi akan menjejak kaki ke Mali satu masa nanti. Teri,a kasih kerana blog-blog Mamadou yang memberi penjelasan mengenainya.

  5. mamadou July 8, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Dear Syaiful.

    Please never regret, you will have second chance to visit them. You will become one rich man soon then you can go a round the world by 4×4 like others………he he he.
    Thanks for your visit and compliments

  6. Syaiful July 8, 2008 at 3:30 am

    Dear Bro Mamadou,

    Excellent blog! Hope you well and good. I should have visited Timbuktu when I was in Mali the last time. Now, never ever imagine that i will go there on my own for holiday etc..

    Take care & keep in touch…

  7. mamadou July 7, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Assalamu’alaikum Uncle Awang

    Sharing this “foresaken place” in the world that people never think its exist and never wanted to visit is a great pleasure. Been visited Timbuktu makes me realise how great their civilisation was and today many scholars around the world throng to Timbuktu to unearth the treasure. The treasure in Timbuktu is the knowledge in written manuscripts. Anyone from our country willing to come or they also busy politiking?

  8. uncleawang July 7, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Salam,
    Thank You for sharing yr trip to this wonderfull and interesting place to visit.I hope you enjoy yr stay there & have a nice day.

  9. mamadou July 7, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Assalamu’alaikum Fauziah

    That’s very true. Only French language can unite them. They speaks normally in their dialect but communication inter-ethnic is in French and official language too. In Mali for example have more 13 radio stations which aired in local dialects. In Benin too. Local languange not only spoken but written. However with French the traditional writings slowly faded out

    Thanks

  10. Fauziah Ismail July 7, 2008 at 2:32 am

    Salam Mamadou
    I find it intiguing that while most African countries were part of French colony, thus the use of French as their spoken language and possibly national language too, they are by large Muslim countries too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: