Cryptic writings of Timbuktu

Timbuktu is a city in Tombouctou Region, in the West African nation of Mali. It was made prosperous by the tenth mansa of the Mali Empire, Mansa Musa. It is home to Sankore University and other madrasas, and was an intellectual and spiritual capital and centre for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its three great mosques, Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahya, recall Timbuktu's golden age. Although continuously restored, these monuments are today under threat from desertification.

Populated by Songhay, Tuareg, Fulani, and Mandé people, Timbuktu is about 15 km north of the Niger River. It is also at the intersection of an east–west and a north–south Trans-Saharan trade route across the Sahara to Araouane. It was important historically (and still is today) as an entrepôt for rock-salt originally from Taghaza, now from Taoudenni. Read more about Timbuktu

Mysterious writing and great books left over from those times - the affair, which occupies the inquisitive minds to these days.[19 Shots]

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
1. One of the treasures found among the thousands of ancient manuscripts - schematic representation of the Prophet's Mosque in Medina, which for Muslims is the second largest (after the Sacred Mosque).

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
2. Death of a member of a prominent family: people gathers to wish him good-bye. The crowd is from members of the three main ethnic groups of Timbuktu: Songhay, Tuareg and Arabs. Each of these groups have long history in Timbuktu.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
3. After the destruction of the roof by rain, Imam Chafee examining the manuscript of his family, which more than 400 years. Many families Timbuktu receives assistance for the preservation of their libraries, covering expenses such as roof repairs.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
4. During the heyday of Timbuktu population raised up to 50,000 inhabitants, the streets overflowed with the camel caravans arriving, stretching for miles. Now the population of the city is on the same level, but the caravans are rare.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
5. Boubacar Sedek (man in white) teaches penmanship on the roof of his workshop. Scribes copying the texts, brought by traders and scholars who once flourished in Timbuktu.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
6. Abdel Kader Heydera - Islamic scholar. In the photo, he sort suitcases of manuscripts. This is just a small part of his family found 22 thousand manuscripts. Heydera founded an organization that helps other families from Timbuktu to maintain their collections of manuscripts.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
7. In the photo (center) - a manuscript from a small seed library containing texts with astrological charts. By conservative estimates, in the libraries of Timbuktu contains more than 100 thousand manuscripts, and experts believe that many thousands of manuscripts are still not understood.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
8. Library staff Mamma Heydera, which is the largest private collection of manuscripts in the city, restore worn pages of manuscripts, using paper made according to old technologies and the corresponding original. The texts are translated into digital form and then sealed in a corrosion chamber.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
9. In the photo: an illustration depicting the Prophet sandals from a rare manuscript Tuareg (XVII century). Over the history of Timbuktu many volumes of rare manuscripts were sold on the black market and exported from Mali.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
10. Ismael dyad Aidara - historian and philosopher of Timbuktu makes travel and stays on the River Niger. His ancestors fled from the Moorish Andalusia, when Spain won over most of it. The history of the exodus and the arrival of the Moors in their in Mali is contained in the chronicles of "Tarikh al-Fattash" (Tarikh al-fattash) - History of the Empire of Mali, one of the most important ancient manuscripts of Timbuktu.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
11. Sankore mosque - one of the three historic mosques in the XV-XVI century, controlled the operation of the system of private academies managed by Islamic scholars.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
12. In the photo: the soldiers during the celebration of Independence Day, Mali on September 22. This is one of those rare occasions for merriment troops Timbuktu. They always have to be in tension due to the groups associated with al Qaeda, which keep the hostages in the desert and harm trade and tourism in Timbuktu.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
13. Soccer is very popular among children in the city. In the afternoon they played football on the streets of Timbuktu, and the evening will compete in table football. Despite the fact that among the major ethnic groups in the city (Songhay, Tuareg and Arabs), sometimes tensions flare up, their children play together without any problems and speak all three languages to learn while playing football.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
14. High-heeled shoes and high dreams become fashionable among adolescent girls in the only secondary school Timbuktu. Life-growing girls, which contributes to their learning, helping to reduce the enormous efforts of Mali, the level of ignorance in the country, which is about 74%.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
15. In the photo: The boys from the religious schools, study the Quran at dawn. Their teacher said, repeating the words, sounding from the mouth of scholars for centuries: "Reading, writing, and the Koran - that is important."

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
16. Mechanic repairing trucks used for transporting salt slabs from the mines, located deep in the Sahara desert. Camel caravans also ply on this route, but the trucks are able to move more and make a 900-mile journey for the salt and back in just 10 days, not 45, as the camels.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
17. Watching the hippos, dockers swim near the boat in the River Niger , flowing about six miles south of Timbuktu.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
18. In the photo: children playing in the middle of ethnic Bella their thatched houses in the sand not far from Timbuktu.

Cryptic writings of Timbuktu
19. After a day of grazing in the desert, a herd of sheep and goats should be a shepherd to his home on the outskirts of Timbuktu. Cattle trade has been a long time ago based and is still considered one of the main sources of income in the city.


WHAT'S POPULAR NOW