Oh wow… I always knew Timbuktu (Tombouctou in Mali) because of the story of the great emperor of the kingdom of Mali, Mansa Kankan Musa. I knew it was the center of his empire, but it is only lately that I realized that it was one of the world’s first and oldest thriving university! Students came from all over the world to study at Timbuktu. Imagine that, students from the middle east, and Europe coming to Africa to study! oooohhhh … Goodness Gracious, that sight only would make me proud! Well, to those who say Africa only has an oral tradition, go and check out the 700,000 manuscripts at the great Sankore University in Timbuktu, and tell me what you think! Oh la la…
In one documentary, the speaker mentions that they translated one of the manuscript on Algebra from Arabic to
French, and sent it to France to be evaluated educationally; well, that manuscript revealed that the mathematics it contained was currently studied in 2nd year of university in France, and the speaker then says “and that was taught at universities in Timbuktu before the 16th century“! Wow… my Goodness!
Timbuktu also houses some of the world’s oldest mud mosques, and every year the people of the city unite to re-do the walls of the mosque. It was added to the UNESCO world’s heritage list in 1988 (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119/).
Read about it on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbuktu