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Why is Timbuktu famous

Why is Timbuktu famous

This West African city—long synonymous with the uttermost end of the Earth—was added to the planet Heritage List in 1988, many centuries after its apex.

Timbuktu was a middle of Islamic scholarship under several African empires, home to a 25,000-student university and other madrasahs that served as wellsprings for the spread of Islam throughout Africa from the 13th to 16th centuries. Sacred Muslim texts, in bound editions, were carried great distances to Timbuktu for the employment of eminent scholars from Cairo, Baghdad, Persia, et al. who were in residence at town. the good teachings of Islam, from astronomy and arithmetic to medicine and law, were collected and produced here in several hundred thousand manuscripts. Many of them remain, though in precarious condition, to create a priceless written account of African history.

Now a shadow of its former glory, Timbuktu strikes most travelers as humble and maybe a touch run down.

But the city’s former status as an Islamic oasis is echoed in its three great mud-and-timber mosques: Djingareyber, Sankore, and Sidi Yahia, which recall Timbuktu's golden age. These 14th- and 15th-century places of worship were also the homes of Islamic scholars referred to as the Ambassadors of Peace.<p>More than a hundred islets off the coast of Pohnpei form the ceremonial site of <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1503" target="_blank">Nan Madol</a>. Ruins of stone palaces, temples, and tombs dating from 1200 to 1500 A.D. reveal the Pacific Island culture of the Saudeleur dynasty.</p>
<p>In 2016, Nan Madol was listed <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1787/" target="_blank">"in danger"</a> due to mangrove overgrowth, storm surge, and stonework collapse.</p>

<p>Nearly two thousand traditional earthen buildings remain standing in <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/116" target="_blank">Djenné</a>, one of the oldest towns in sub-Saharan Africa, inhabited since 250 B.C. In addition to its Islamic architecture, four archaeological sites—Djenné-Djeno, Hambarkétolo, Kaniana, and Tonomba—reveal clues about pre-Islamic urban structure and its subsequent evolution.</p>
<p>Political insecurity, deterioration of historic construction materials, urbanization, and erosion earned it a place on the <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1520/" target="_blank">World Heritage in Danger List</a> in 2016.</p>

<p>In the heart of Wadi Hadramaut, the 16th-century <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/shibam-mud-skyscraper-yemen" target="_blank">Walled City of Shibam</a> is the oldest standing metropolis in the world to use vertical construction. In the 1930’s, British explorer Freya Stark dubbed the mud skyscraper city “the Manhattan of the desert”.</p>
<p>In 2015, Shibam was added to the list of World Heritage in Danger due to ongoing civil war. “In addition to causing terrible human suffering, these attacks are destroying Yemen’s unique cultural heritage, which is the repository of people’s identity, history and memory and an exceptional testimony to the achievements of the Islamic Civilization," Director-General Irina Bokova said in a <a href="http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1278/" target="_blank">press release</a>.</p>

<p>Described as “a river of grass flowing imperceptibly from the hinterland into the sea”, Florida’s sweeping <a href="http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/76" target="_blank">subtropical wetlands</a> are a sanctuary for birds, reptiles, and more than 20 rare, endangered, and threatened species.</p>
<p>A combination of urban growth, pollution, and natural disaster earned it a spot on the Danger List in 1993, and it was later removed in 2007 after restoration efforts. It landed on the list once <a href="http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/638/" target="_blank">again in 2010</a> after continued degradation from pollution and significant losses of marine habitat and species.</p>

<p>In the Central Highlands between Nablus and Hebron, a series of ancient terraces, agricultural towers, and a complex irrigation system have been used to cultivate <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1492" target="_blank">Battir</a> since antiquity. The agricultural practices—still in use today—are some of the oldest farming methods known to humankind.</p>
<p>In 2014, the site was listed "<a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1154/" target="_blank">in danger</a>" because of ongoing geo-political transformations in the region. According to UNESCO, Israel’s controversial <a href="https://www.ochaopt.org/theme/west-bank-barrier" target="_blank">West Bank Barrier</a> “may isolate farmers from fields they have cultivated for centuries.”</p>

<p>Perched on the Danube River, the Baroque castles and gardens of Vienna reveal its long, rich history as capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city has also been recognized as the musical capital of Europe since the 16th century, housing the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert.</p>
<p>In 2017, the city was inscribed World Heritage in Danger due to high-rise constructions in the Austrian capital. “The Committee regrets that the Vienna Ice-Skating Club—Intercontinental Hotel project fails to comply fully with previous Committee decisions, notably concerning the height of new constructions, which will impact adversely the outstanding universal value of the site,” UNESCO said in a <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1684/" target="_blank">press release</a>.</p>

<p>At an altitude of 13,000 feet, the silver mining city of <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/420" target="_blank">Potosí</a> was considered the world’s largest industrial complex in the 16th century, and Spain’s major colonial-era supplier of silver. In addition to the mines—which are still in use today—the city is known for its unique Andean Baroque architecture, intricate aqueduct system, and artificial lakes.</p>
<p>In 2014 the site was added to the “<a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1148/" target="_blank">in danger</a>” list after ongoing concerns over degradation of the site related to mining operations.</p>

<p>One of the most striking volcanic landscapes in Africa, <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/07/virunga-national-parks-africa-congo-rangers/?beta=true" target="_blank">Virunga National Park</a> is a refuge for numerous birds, reptiles, hippos, and its most iconic: the rare and globally threatened mountain gorilla.</p>
<p><a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/63" target="_blank">Virunga National Park</a> was added to the Danger List in 1994. Both the guards and wildlife have been subjected to ongoing violence in the decades since, including the slaughter of hippos and gorillas. In April 2018, <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/07/virunga-national-parks-africa-congo-rangers/?beta=true" target="_blank">six guards were killed</a> in an attack—the third this year.</p>

<p>In 1495, Emperor Askia Mohamed of Songhai built a 55-foot <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1139" target="_blank">pyramidal structure</a> as a symbol of his capital city’s wealth and power. The complex includes the pyramid, two flat-roofed mosques, a cemetery, and assembly ground, and is representative of the mud-building techniques of West African Sahel.</p>
<p>In 2004, the site was added to the “in danger” list due to threats of conflict-related damage, trafficking of cultural objects, and interruptions in conservation work.</p>

<p>Considered a pioneer in modern dock technology, the historic center and docklands of <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1150/" target="_blank">Liverpool</a> represent one of the world’s major trading centers in the 18th and 19th centuries, and played a significant role in facilitating the trans-Atlantic slave trade.</p>
<p>The site was listed “in danger” in 2012 due to a proposed redevelopment scheme that would significantly alter the skyline and isolate the dock areas visually.</p>

<p>Striking geometric patterns of burnt brick and gypsum decorate the rammed earth towers of<a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/385"> Sana’a</a>. Considered a jewel of Islamic civilization, the city has been continuously inhabited for more than 2,500 years and is associated with Biblical and Koranic civilizations.</p>
<p>In 2015, a bombing raid of Sana’a resulted in human causalities and destroyed several historic houses and buildings. “I am shocked by the images of these magnificent many-storeyed tower-houses and serene gardens reduced to rubble. This destruction will only exacerbate the humanitarian situation,” Director General Irina Bokova said in a <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1295/" target="_blank">press release</a>.</p>

<p>Four Serbian Orthodox Monasteries—Dečani monastery, Patriarchal Monastery of Peć, Our Lady of Ljeviš, and Gračanica monastery—represent the melding of Byzantine and Western medieval traditions that developed between the 13th and 17th centuries. The vibrant frescoes that adorn the church interiors played an important role in the development of subsequent Balkan art and architecture.</p>
<p>In 2006, the <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/724/" target="_blank">Medieval Monuments in Kosovo</a> were listed "<a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/268/" target="_blank">in danger</a>" due to “difficulties in its management and conservation stemming from the region's political instability.”</p>

<p>The southernmost island in the Solomon Island group, <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/854" target="_blank">East Rennell</a> is the largest raised coral atoll in the world. Its limestone islets, dense forest, and brackish lakes harbor a diverse array of endemic species.</p>
<p>In 2013, the island was listed "in danger" because of logging in the region.</p>

<p>On the coast of Belize, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons, and offshore atolls make up the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. Seven <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/764" target="_blank">UNESCO-protected</a> areas comprise 12 percent of the entire complex, and provide important habitat for threatened marine species, including turtles, manatees, and crocodiles.</p>
<p>The reef was inscribed as World Heritage in Danger <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/530/" target="_blank">in 2009</a> due to mangrove cutting and excessive development.</p>

<p>In a deep river valley in Ghur province, the 213-foot <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/211" target="_blank">Minaret of Jam</a> marks where the ancient city of Firuzkuh once stood. The 12th-century construction is covered in intricate brickwork, Kufic inscription, and turquoise tile, and represents the architecture and ornamentation of the Islamic period in Central Asia.</p>
<p>In 2002, the Minaret of Jam was inscribed World Heritage in Danger to encourage the development and implementation of a long-term conservation policy, including setting up boundaries and increasing staff.</p>

<p>In the golden sands of Sahara desert, <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/573" target="_blank">Ténéré</a> is the largest protected area in Africa and home to an array of plants and animals, including three threatened species of antelopes.</p>
<p>The site was inscribed on the Danger List in 1992 due to political instability, poaching, and illegal grazing.</p>

<p>Positioned at the crossroads of Africa and Asia, <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/20" target="_blank">Damascus</a> was founded in the third millennium B.C., and is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East. Some 125 monuments represent a rich history spanning the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic civilizations.</p>
<p>In 2013, all six of Syria’s World Heritage sites were added to the Danger List amidst the ongoing Syrian Civil War—several sites have sustained further conflict-related damage since their listing, and in 2015, <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1337/" target="_blank">two prominent scholars</a> of Syrian antiquity were killed.</p>

<p>Thick, earthen walls decorated by anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs evidence the former glory of <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/366" target="_blank">Chan Chan</a>, the capital of the Chimu Kingdom and the largest earthen city of pre-Columbian America.</p>
<p>The site was listed "in danger" in 1986 due to its vulnerability to extreme climatic events, trafficking of archaeological remains, and proposed construction.</p>

<p>In Chile’s Pampas, one of the driest deserts on Earth, thousands of <i>pampinos</i>—saltpeter workers from Chile, Peru and Bolivia—lived and worked in these <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1178" target="_blank">communal towns</a> for more than 60 years. It is the largest saltpeter deposit in the world, and when it opened in 1872, provided fertilizer sodium nitrate used for agriculture throughout North America, South America, and Europe.</p>
<p>The site was listed "in danger" in 2005 after an earthquake rattled the vulnerable buildings.</p>

<p>The mosques, minarets, and palaces of <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/276" target="_blank">Samarra</a> are a testament to the Abbasid Empire, which ruled the area spanning Tunisia to Central Asia for a century. After monuments of Baghdad were destroyed, Samarra represents the only surviving Islamic capital that has retained its original architecture, arts, and layout.</p>
<p>In 2007, Samarra was listed "in danger" based on the criteria set forth by the <a href="http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13637&amp;URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&amp;URL_SECTION=201.html" target="_blank">Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict</a>.</p>

<p>Located on the Silk Roads in southern Uzbekistan, this <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/885" target="_blank">2,000-year-old city</a> was the cultural and political center of the Temurids in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Ak-Sarai Palace, tomb of Temur, and Chor-su bazaar represent the rich architectural heritage of Central Asia and the Islamic world.</p>
<p>In 2016, the site was listed “<a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1522/" target="_blank">in danger</a>” due to the destruction of medieval buildings and construction of modern facilities “which have affected irreversible changes to the appearance of historic Shakhrisyabz.”</p>

<p>More than six million acres form Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat, and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Parks—together they are one of the biggest conservation areas in Southeast Asia. <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1167" target="_blank">Sumatra</a> is biodiversity hot spot, home to both endemic and endangered species, including Sumatran orangutans, Sumatran tigers, rhinos, elephants, and Malayan sun bears.</p>
<p>In 2011, the site was placed on the <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/news/764/" target="_blank">World Heritage in Danger List</a> “to help overcome threats posed by poaching, illegal logging, agricultural encroachment, and plans to build roads through the site.”</p>

<p>Known as “the pearl of the desert”, <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/362" target="_blank">Ghadamès</a> is one of the world’s oldest remaining pre-Saharan settlements.</p>
<p>In 2016, amidst ongoing conflict, all five of Libya’s World Heritage sites were added to the Danger List. "[Libya] is of great importance to humanity as a whole," said Director General Irina Bokova in a <a href="http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/single-view/news/the_director_general_calls_for_the_protection_of_the_old_tow/" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Several major sites bear witness to the great technical and artistic achievements of the ancestors of the people [of Libya], and constitute a precious legacy."</p>

<p>Near the Libya-Algeria border, thousands of cave paintings dating from 12,000 B.C. to 100 A.D. pepper the rocky massif of <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/287" target="_blank">Tadrart Acacus</a>, including depictions of giraffes, elephants, horses, and people.</p>
<p>Amidst ongoing conflict in the region, the prehistoric cave art has been subjected to increasing vandalism. In 2016, all five of Libya’s World Heritage sites were added to the Danger List.<br>
</p>

edge of the sahara

 

More than 100 islets off the coast of Pohnpei form the ceremonial site of Nan Madol. Ruins of stone palaces, temples, and tombs dating from 1200 to 1500 A.D. reveal the Pacific Island culture of the Saudeleur dynasty. In 2016, Nan Madol was listed "in danger" because of mangrove overgrowth, storm surge, and stonework collapse.

PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL CHESLEY, NAT GEO IMAGE COLLECTION

Most of Timbuktu’s priceless manuscripts are in camera hands, where they’ve been hidden for long years, and a few have vanished into the black market during a trade that threatens to require with it a part of Timbuktu’s soul. there's hope that libraries and cultural centers is established to preserve the dear collection and become a source of tourist revenue. Some fledgling efforts toward this end are now under way.

Religion wasn’t the city’s only industry. Timbuktu sits near the Niger, where North African’s savannas disappear into the sands of the Sahara, and a part of its romantic image is that of a camel caravan trade route. This characterization had roots essentially and after all continues to the current in much reduced form. Salt from the desert had great value and, together with other caravan goods, enriched the town in its heyday. it had been these profitable caravans, in fact, that first brought scholars to congregate at the positioning.

In the 16th century Moroccan invaders began to drive scholars out, and trade routes slowly shifted to the coasts. The city’s importance and prestige waned and students drifted elsewhere. French colonization at the close of the 19th century dealt another serious blow to the previous glories of Timbuktu.

Things in Timbuktu deteriorated to the purpose that, though recognized as a World Heritage site only some years before, it absolutely was placed on the List of World Heritage in peril in 1990. But with major improvements to the preservation of the three ancient mosques Timbuktu earned its way off that list in 2005.

Timbuktu struggles to draw tourist revenue and develop tourism in a very way that preserves the past—new construction near the mosques has prompted the globe Heritage Committee to stay the positioning under close surveillance. Perched because it is on the sting of the Sahara, relentless encroachment of the desert sands is additionally a threat to Timbuktu.

In 2012, Timbuktu was yet again placed on the List of World Heritage in peril due to threats associated with armed conflict.

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