Our next destination is the ancient desert outpost of Timbuktu in Mali. In its golden age, Timbuktu was the centre of the extensive Malian empire, and made riches trading Gold, Slaves, Salt and Ivory across the Sahara. The city is a UNESCO world heritage site. However, it is under constant threat from desertification.
Located at the southern edge of the Sahara Desert and six miles north of the Niger River in the present-day nation of Mali, Timbuktu has been a centuries-old, significant city in West Africa. In the 14th Century it became the commercial, religious and cultural center of the West African empires of Mali and Songhai. With its population of traders, merchants and scholars, Timbuktu was known throughout western Africa and its fame extended to Europe and Asia. For hundreds of years, Timbuktu was a centre of scholarly study in the Islamic world. Thousands of students came to learn here. Three ancient mosques still stand and the city holds many ancient books and papers. Timbuktu was also an important centre for trade. Caravans of tradesmen traveling by camel stopped in Timbuktu to get water and food as they traveled.
Timbuktu is best known for its famous Djinguereber Mosque and prestigious Sankore University, both of which were established in the early 1300s under the reign of the Mali Empire, most famous ruler, Mansa Musa.
Our tenth part starts here and makes its way West, to Niamey (Niger)- 1,051km.