Typical Street Scene in Timbuktu

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This West African city—long synonymous with the uttermost end of the Earth—was added to the Unesco World Heritage List in 1988, many centuries after its apex. Timbuktu was founded by nomads in the twelfth century and it rapidly became a major trading depot for the caravans of the Sahara Desert. It has often been invoked as a symbol as a mysterious and exotic place on Earth. Timbuktu city boasts a rich and fascinating history. it was once a thriving center of science and the starting point of Islam throughout Africa. Although the city and maintains a permanent population, as well as a place to store the greatest collection of ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu slowly recedes before approaching the Sahara desert. The main problem is the local desertification, as in there are big dunes and the streets are often buried under windblown sand. The temperature then increased too, often fever was recorded at above 55 ° C. The good news is that in the cool waters of the Niger can dip only 24 km from the city. Nowadays, Timbuktu is in the hands of Islamist rebels who captured the city from a secular rebel group in June. Most of the area’s population has fled to non-rebel controlled areas of Mali or Niger. The rebels have imposed sharia law, which includes mandatory veils for women, the stoning of adulterers, and punitive “amputations” for thieves. The rebels have called for the destruction of all of the city\’s shrines, which they believe to be a form of idolatry banned by Islam. It appears most, if not all, of the shrines have been destroyed.

timbuktu Typical Street Scene in Timbuktu

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credit: Emilio Labrador

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