Thursday, February 07, 2013

Who Saved Timbuktu's Priceless Manuscripts?


From a piece in the Global Post...

The saving of Timbuktu’s priceless manuscripts owes everything to the bravery of an unlikely group — librarians.

The coalition of Tuareg separatists and Islamic militants who overran the city last April were just the latest in a series of foreign invaders to sweep into the fabled desert city, so the owners of Timbuktu’s manuscripts did what they have always done — they hid them.

An ancient city squeezed between the Niger River and the Sahara Desert, Timbuktu was a center of Islamic scholarship and trans-African trade in its Medieval heyday but has gradually declined in the centuries that followed. The city's manuscripts are a unique treasure trove of scholarly information. Handwritten and many hundreds of years old, they are irreplaceable.

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