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.
Signboard showing places of interest to visit in Timbuktu. All are within walking distance
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.
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
Djingarey Ber Mosque
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.
Door and window of Songhai architecture
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. Tuareg and other travelers would entrust this woman with any belongings for which they had no use on their return trip
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or cellphone (+223) 6042123
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.
Grand market of Timbuktu. Businesses are more active outside compared than inside the market’s building
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.
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
The carpenter at works. Timbuktu’s street arts ‘The good, the bad and the ugly’
Handicrafts market and some of the activities held and items for sale.
An evening at Timbuktu. View of Sahara Desert and football is the most popular sport. The photograph showing women are playing football in Timbuktu
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.