In Timbuktu

There is an article in the NYT about Timbuktu. It turns out that Timbuktu is an unimportant small town (~ 50,000 people) on the less fashionable side of the Sahara desert (it is in Mali). It is more famous than its value might warrant, being so far in the middle of Africa. Its current suffering rises from it being occupied by Muslim rebels, which feel obliged to make everybody’s life miserable. The story reminded me of the settings in the book Waiting for the barbarians (a quote).

Timbuktu probably had entered European mythology because of the book on the geography of Africa written by Leo Africanus. He was educated in the university of Al Karaouine, which might or might not be the first university in the world (opened more than a 1150 years ago).

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