The three wonders of Tombouctou

Tombouctou-ville

Located at the gates of the Saharan desert, on the edge of the fertile Sudanese zone and in an exceptionally favorable site and close to the river, Timbuktu is one of the cities in Africa whose name is the most steeped in history. / strong>

A true place of trade, Timbuktu is a crossroads and where the manuscripts and Teghaza salt from the north are traded, the sales of gold, cattle and grain from the south. Timbuktu the mysterious has three large historical mosques to visit absolutely.

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Djingareyber which means great mosque in Songhrai language is one of the oldest sub-Saharan mosques whose initial construction dates back to Sultan Kankan Moussa, who returned in 1325 from the pilgrimage to Mecca . This building was rebuilt and enlarged between 1570 and 1583 by Imam Al Aqib, Cadi of Timbuktu, who then added the entire southern part and the wall of the cemetery to the west. The central minaret which dominates the city constitutes one of the most visible landmarks of the urban landscape of Timbuktu.

It hosts the great Friday prayer which brings together up to 12,000 faithful. It is made up of twenty-five rows of pillars. The large number of pillars, necessary to limit the span of the vaults, does not provide an overview of the room. Once a year the population participates in the repair of the exterior plaster.

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located south of the mosque of Sankoré, The mosque of Sidi Yahia would have been built around 1400 by the marabout Cheick El Moktar Hamalla in anticipation of a saint who manifested himself forty years later in the person of sheriff Sidi Yahia, who was then appointed as Imam. The mosque is part of the University of Timbuktu, which includes the madrasas of Sidi Yahya, Djinguereber and Sankoré.The tomb of Sidi Yayha is located in the mosque, which means that it has historically attracted many visitors, including the Timbuktu’s most renowned scholar, Ahmad Baba.The construction of Sidi Yahya as a madrassa has allowed a massive expansion of knowledge exchange in Mali.The imams of the mosque are buried in an underground area to the north of the building where they are recited the evening and morning prayers.

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Built in the 14th century, this mosque was, like the mosque of Djingareyber, restored by Imam Al Aqib between 1578 and 1582. He demolished the sanctuary and rebuilt it giving it the dimensions of the Kaaba of Mecca.

Sankoré brings together a collection of nearly one hundred thousand manuscripts dating from the West African imperial period (at the time of the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire and the Songhoy Empire today held by the great families of the city They are for the most part written in Arabic or in Peulh, by scholars from the former Mali Empire and contain didactic knowledge, particularly in the fields of astronomy, music, botany… Manuscripts more recent ones cover the fields of law, science, history.These three great mosques of Djingareyber, Sankoré and Sidi Yahia, retain their value in terms of architecture, traditional construction techniques, they are exceptional examples of earthen architecture and traditional techniques of continuous maintenance.

The oldest mausoleums date from the 14th century. They are scattered throughout the streets, the exterior cemeteries of the city and inside the great historic mosques of Djingareyber, Sankoré and Sidi Yahia. Unesco has listed sixteen of them as World Heritage.

Tours for these three mosques are open to any visitor with a guide who can easily be found upon landing to facilitate the itinerary for visitors.

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