Timbuktu

City in Mali

One of the 21 Finalists

Timbuktu

Tombouctou Region, Mali

Timbuktu (pron.: /ˌtɪmbʌkˈt/), also spelled as Tinbuktu, Timbuctoo and Timbuktoo (French: Tombouctou; Koyra Chiini: Tumbutu), is a historical and still-inhabited city in the West African nation of Mali, situated 20 km (12 mi) north of the River Niger on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. The town is the capital of the Timbuktu Region, one of the eight administrative regions of Mali. It had a population of 54,453 in the 2009 census.

Starting out as a seasonal settlement, Timbuktu became a permanent settlement early in the 12th century. After a shift in trading routes, Timbuktu flourished from the trade in salt, gold, ivory and slaves. It became part of the Mali Empire early in the 14th century. In the first half of the 15th century the Tuareg tribes took control of the city for a short period until the expanding Songhai Empire absorbed the city in 1468. A Moroccan army defeated the Songhai in 1591, and made Timbuktu, rather than Gao, their capital.

The invaders established a new ruling class, the Arma, who after 1612 became virtually independent of Morocco. However, the golden age of the city was over, during which it was a major learning and cultural center of the Mali empire, and it entered a long period of decline. Different tribes governed until the French took over in 1893, a situation that lasted until it became part of the current Republic of Mali in 1960. Presently, Timbuktu is impoverished and suffers from desertification.

In its Golden Age, the town’s numerous Islamic scholars and extensive trading network made possible an important book trade: together with the campuses of the Sankore Madrasah, an Islamic university, this established Timbuktu as a scholarly centre in Africa. Several notable historic writers, such as Shabeni and Leo Africanus, have described Timbuktu. These stories fueled speculation in Europe, where the city’s reputation shifted from being extremely rich to being mysterious. This reputation overshadows the town itself in modern times, to the point where it is best known in Western culture as an expression for a distant or outlandish place.

Mali

Interesting Facts

Timbuktu


Population

54.45 thousand

Elevation above sea level

261 metre

Instance of

city

The Official

New 7 Wonders of the World

Chichén Itzá

Pyramid at Chichén Itzá, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Machu Picchu

15th-century Inca site in Peru

Great Wall of China

series of fortifications built along the historical border of China

Taj Mahal

A white marble mausoleum in Agra, India

Colosseum

elliptical amphitheatre in Rome, Italy

Petra

Arabian historical and archaeological city, Jordan

Christ the Redeemer

statue of Jesus in Río de Janeiro, Brazil

Worldmap

The 21 Finalists

Latest News

New7Wonders continues, find out how in our News Room

Bernard Weber: "Have a Wonderful New Year!"

ZURICH, SwitzerlandDear Wonderful FriendsPlease accept my warmest wishes at the start of the New Year. In 2017, let us all adopt the New7Wonders positive vision of life, and inspired by this, we can work together to build a more harmonious and just world.Undoubtedly, the highlight of our past 12…

New7Wonders preliminary report on Chichén Itzá

ZURICH: New7Wonders has completed the first part of the Official New7Wonders VII process for Chichén Itzá, one of the New7Wonders of the World. A preliminary report has been sent to the relevant authorities and civil organisations, for them to consider and respond to.The New7Wonders VII is the ongoing audit…

Recreating the New7Wonders of the World in Bangalore

The New7Wonders of the World have been given a unique interpretation by students of the National Hill View Public School in Banashankari, a suburb of Bangalore in India. Imaginative models of Christ the Redeemer, the Colosseum, Chichen Itza, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, Petra and India's very own…

New7Wonders visit to Chichén Itzá for Verification

ZURICH: New7Wonders has completed its visit to Chichén Itzá, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, as part of the Official New7Wonders VII process.The N7W VII is the ongoing audit programme conducted by New7Wonders as the world authority for the voted Wonders, to ensure they are able…

Zaha Hadid: A tribute

ZURICH: The Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, who died yesterday in Miami aged 65, was a distinguished member of the New7Wonders Panel of Experts on two occasions: The New7Wonders of the World and the New7Wonders Cities campaigns. Bernard Weber, the Founder-President of New7Wonders, remembers a remarkable woman, an inspirational designer and…

Wonderful Content loading...

Hello! Contact New 7 Wonders Close

Do you have any questions about the New7Wonders campaigns?
Are you writing an article, do you have a project in mind?
Maybe you have an idea using the New7Wonders concept?
Whatever it is, just say "Hello!" to us, and we will reply as soon as we can.

If you are from the press or a media organisation, or a social media reporter, please use this form to contact Eamonn Fitzgerald, New7Wonders Head of Communications.

If you have an idea involving the New7Wonders concept, or maybe you want to associate New7Wonders with your product or brand, or any other commercial or business or new creative idea, please use this form to contact Jean-Paul de la Fuente, New7Wonders Head of Value Development.>