Timbuktu

Background

Name- Timbuktu

Country- Mali

Added to World Heritage List- 1988

Criteria- (ii) (iv) (v)- a change in values shown in architecture, architecture that represents significant portions of human history, and a good example of human settlement that includes the use of the sea, and the use of land that is represented in the culture.

Sites in Mali- three cultural and one mixed.

Archaeological Site Information

Time Period of Site: archaelogists suspect it was founded near the 5th century but was mostly active between the 15th and 16th centuries (the end of the Askia dynasty).

People: founded by Imakcharen Tauregs who established a camp about 250 km from their home.

Archaelological Summary

Timbuktu, located in Mali, appeared in the 5th century when Imakcharen Taureg people built a camp there. It was guarded by a woman named Buktu. It eventually became a small village named Tim-Buktu where it became a crossroads for trading paths. From there it became a market city with Islam being its major religion.

The city reached its peak in the mid-14th century during the Askia Dynasty. From there it became a hub for Koranic Culture, where it added a university (University of Sankore) and many other schools which were attended by about 25,000 students. The city began to attract travelers, architects, spiritual leaders, professors, scholars, and engineers as it became a strong intellectual and religious center.

One of the marvels of Timbuktu are the mosques. Those that are still standing are the Mosque of Djingareyber, the Mosque of Sankore, and the Mosque of Sidi Yahia. The Mosque of Djingareyber was built in the 1300’s by a sultan coming back from a pilgramage to Mecca and is the most visible landmark in Timbuktu. The Mosque of Sankore was remodeled in the 14th century, suggesting that it had been built long beforehand. The sanctuary was completely rebuilt to resemble the Kabba of Mecca. The Mosque of Sidi Yahia was built around 1400 and restorted in the late 1500’s.

There are no known threats to Timbuktu at this time.

Links

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/ (UNESCO Site)

http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/592

Photos

I picked this site mostly because Timbuktu seems to be this magical market place that doesn’t actually exist, but in fact, it’s an ancient market city in Mali that has a lot of cultural and intellectual history.

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