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Timbuktu is an historic city in Mali which was once a centre of trade, religion and culture, although it is today thought of as inaccessible and even mythical, thanks to phrases such as “from here to Timbuktu”. Established in the twelfth century, the city of Timbuktu quickly flourished, prospering from the trans-Saharan trade routes in items such as salt and precious metals.
Today, Timbuktu is a shadow of its former self. Some sites remain, such as Dyingerey Ber Mosque (shown on the map). It is also worth seeing the over 23,000 Islamic manuscripts at the Centre de Recherches Historiques Ahmed Baba, the earliest of which date back to the twelfth century.
Timbuktu also houses a small commonwealth World War II cemetery for two British seamen, John Graham and William Soutter, who died there. This occurred when British merchant sailors were being held there. The two graves are located by a wall running along the road between Timbuktu’s centre and Kabara.
Maps of Mali
Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa with an area of 1,240,192 sq. km.
As observed on the physical map above, Mali has a monotonous landscape with plains and plateaus dominating the country topgraphy. The landscape transitions from Sahara Desert in the north through the Sahel to the zone of Sudanian savanna in the south.
Approximately 65% of the country is covered by desert or semi-desert.
Mali's landscape is mostly a savanna grassland that rolls into higher plateaus as you move north. Rugged hills with elevations that reach upwards of 1,000 m dot the northeast.
The lowest point of the country is the Senegal River at 75 ft (23 m) the highest point of Mali is Hombori Tondo at 3,789 ft (1,155 m).
The largest rivers in Mali are the Niger and Senegal. Considered to be Mali's lifeblood (its source of food, drinking water, irrigation and transportation) the Niger River snakes through roughly 4,180 km of western Africa.
The Sahara was often drier, but also more rainy for a long time than it is today. So it was a place uninhabitable for humans 325,000 to 290,000 years ago and 280,000 to 225,000 years ago, apart from favorable places like the Tihodaïne lake on the water-storing Tassili n'Ajjer .  In these and other dry periods, the desert stretched repeatedly far to the north and south its sand dunes can be found far beyond the present-day borders of the Sahara. Human traces can only be expected in the rainier green phases. It is possible that anatomically modern humans, which perhaps developed in the said isolated phase 300,000 to 200,000 years ago south of the Sahara, already in the long green phase over 200,000 years ago the water-rich area at that time. Even around 125,000 to 110,000 years ago there was an adequate network of waterways that allowed numerous animal species to spread northward, followed by human hunters. Huge lakes contributed to this, such as the Mega Lake Chad, which at times covered over 360,000 km 2 .  On the other hand, the desert stretched far north and south again 70,000 to 58,000 years ago and is therefore likely to have represented a barrier that was difficult to overcome. Another green phase followed 50,000 to 45,000 years ago. 
In Mali the find situation is less favorable than in the northern neighbors. Excavations at the Ounjougou complex  on the Dogon Plateau near Bandiagara have shown that hunters and gatherers lived in the region more than 150,000 years ago. Dating back to between 70,000 and 25,000 years ago is certain. The Paleolithic ended very early in Mali because after this section 25,000 to 20,000 years ago there was another extreme dry phase, the Ogolia . When towards the end of the savannah landscape . 
After the end of the last maximum expansion of the northern ice masses towards the end of the last glacial period, the climate was characterized by much higher humidity than it is today. The Niger created a huge inland lake in the area around Timbuktu and Araouane, as well as a similarly large lake in Chad . At the same time, savannah landscapes and a landscape in northern Mali comparable to that which characterizes the south today. This around 9500 BC The humid phase that began after the Younger Dryas period, a cold period after the last glacial period, was around 5000 BC. Chr. Increasingly replaced by an increasingly dry phase.
The Neolithic, the time in which people increasingly produced their own food instead of hunting, fishing or collecting it as before, developed during this humid phase. This is usually divided into three sections, which are separated from each other by distinct dry phases. Sorghum and millet were planted and around 8000 BC. Large herds of cattle that were close to the zebus grazed in what is now the Sahara Sheep and goats were not added until much later from West Asia, while cattle were first domesticated in Africa.
Here appears Ceramics, which was long thought to be a side effect of Neolithization in the earliest Neolithic, appeared at the central Malian site of Ounjougou dating to about 9,400 BC, and are believed to be an instance of the independent invention of pottery.  ie 9500 to 7000 v. BC, in the Aïr according to Marianne Cornevin as early as 10,000 BC. Chr.  The earliest Neolithic is attributed to the phase of the productive way of life, although no plants were cultivated and no cattle were kept. In Mali, the Ravin de la Mouche site, which belongs here, was dated to an age of 11,400–10,200 years.  This site belongs to the Ounjougou complex on the Yamé , where all eras since the Upper PaleolithicHave left traces  and the oldest ceramics in Mali to 9400 BC. Was dated. In Ravin de la Mouche, artifacts could date between 9500 and 8500 BC. The site Ravin du Hibou 2 can be dated to 8000 to 7000 BC. Thereafter, where the said oldest ceramic remains were found in the course of a research program that has been running since 1997 in the two gorges, a hiatus between 7000 and 3500 BC occurred . BC because the climate was too unfavorable - even for hunters and gatherers.
The middle Neolithic of the Dogon Plateau can be recognized by gray, bifacial stone tools made from quartzite . The first traces of nomadic cattle breeders can be found (again) around 4000 BC. BC, whereby it was around 3500 BC. The relatively humid climate came to an end.  Excavations in Karkarichinkat (2500–1600 BC) and possibly in Village de la Frontière (3590 cal BC) prove this, as do studies on Lake Fati . The latter consisted continuously between 10,430 and 4660 BPas evidenced by layers of mud on its eastern edge. A 16 cm thick layer of sand was dated around 4500 BP, which provided evidence that the region dried out around 1000 years later than on the Mauritanian coast.  A thousand years later, the dry phase, which apparently drove cattle nomads from the east to Mali, reached its peak. The northern lakes dried up and the population mostly moved south. The transition from the Neolithic to the Pre-Dogon is still unclear. In Karkarichinkat it became apparent that sheep, cattle and goats were kept, but hunting, gathering and fishing continued to play an important role. It may even be the case that successful pastoralism prevented agriculture from establishing itself for a long time.
The late Neolithic was marked by renewed immigration from the Sahara around 2500 BC. Chr., Which had grown into an enormously spacious desert. This aridization continued and forced further migrations to the south, the approximate course of which is archaeologically understandable. On the basis of ethno-archaeological studies of ceramics, three groups were found that lived around Méma, the Canal de Sonni Ali and Windé Koroji on the border with Mauritania in the period around 2000 BC. Lived. This was made possible by ceramic research at the Kobadi site (1700 to 1400 BC), the MN25 site near Hassi el Abiod and Kirkissoy near Niameyin Niger (1500 to 1000 BC). Apparently the two groups hiked towards Kirkissoy last.  No later than the 2nd half of the 2nd millennium BC. Millet cultivation reached the region at the Varves Ouest site, more precisely the cultivation of pearl millet ( Pennisetum glaucum ), but also wheat and emmer, which were established much earlier in the east of the Sahara, now (again?) Reached Mali. Ecological changes indicate that tillage must have started as early as the 3rd millennium.  But this phase of agriculture ended around 400 BC. In turn by an extreme drought.
The use of ocher in funerals was common up to the 1st millennium, even with animals, as the spectacular find of a horse in the west of the inland delta, in Tell Natamatao (6 km from Thial in the Cercle Tenenkou ) shows, whose bones are included Ocher had been sprinkled.  There are also rock carvings typical of the entire Sahara, in which not only symbols and depictions of animals but also depictions of people appear. From the 1st millennium BC Paintings in the Boucle-du-Baoulé National Park (Fanfannyégèné), on the Dogon Plateau and in the Niger River Delta (Aire Soroba). 
In Karkarichikat Nord (KN05) and Karkarichinkat Sud (KS05) in the lower Tilemsi Valley, a fossil river valley 70 km north of Gao, it was possible to prove for the first time in eleven women in West Africa south of the Sahara that the modification of the teeth for ritual reasons was also there was in use around 4500-4200 BP, similar to the Maghreb .  In contrast to men, women have modifications ranging from extractions to filings, so that the teeth are given a pointed shape. A custom that lasted until the 19th century. 
It was also found there that the inhabitants of the valley already obtained 85% of their carbon intake from grass seeds, mainly from C4 plants this happened either through the consumption of wild plants, such as the wild millet, or through domesticated lamp-cleaning grasses .  This provided the earliest evidence of agricultural activity and cattle breeding in West Africa (around 2200 cal BP). 
The sites of the Dhar-Tichitt tradition in the Méma region, a former river delta west of today's inland delta, also known as the "dead delta",  belong to the period between 1800 and 800/400 BC. Chr. Their settlements measured between one and eight hectares, but the settlement was not continuous, which may be related to the fact that this region was not suitable for cattle farming during the rainy season. The reason for this was the tsetse fly, which prevented this way of life from expanding southwards for a long time.
In contrast to these cattle breeders, who then drove their herds northwards again, the members of the simultaneous Kobadi tradition, who had lived exclusively from fishing, collecting wild grasses and hunting since the middle of the 2nd millennium at the latest, remained relatively stationary. Both cultures had copper that they brought from Mauritania . At the same time, the different cultures cultivated a lively exchange. 
Earlier Iron Age Edit
A series of early cities and towns were created by Mande peoples related to the Soninke people, along the middle Niger River (in Mali) including at Dia which began from around 900 BC, and reached its peak around 600 BC,  and at Djenné-Djenno, which was occupied from around 250 B.C to around 800 AD.  Djenné-Djenno comprised an urban complex consisting of 40 mounds within a 4 kilometer radius.  The site is believed to exceed 33 hectares (82 acres), and the town engaged in both local and long-distance trade  During Djenné-Djenno's second phase (during the first millennium AD) the borders of the site expanded during (possibly covering 100,000 square meters or more), also coinciding with the development at the site of a kind of permanent mud brick architecture, including a city wall, probably built during the latter half of the first millennium AD using the cylindrical brick technology, "which was 3.7 meters wide at its base and ran almost two kilometers around the town".  
The Mali Empire was the largest empire in West Africa and profoundly influenced the culture of West Africa through the spread of its language, laws and customs. 
Until the 19th century, Timbuktu remained important as an outpost at the southwestern fringe of the Muslim world and a hub of the trans-Saharan slave trade.
Mandinka from c. 1230 to c. 1600. The empire was founded by Sundiata Keita and became known for the wealth of its rulers, especially Mansa Musa I. The Mali Empire had many profound cultural influences on West Africa, allowing the spread of its language, laws and customs along the Niger River. It extended over a large area and consisted of numerous vassal kingdoms and provinces.
The Mali Empire began to weaken in the 15th century, but it remained dominant for much of the 15th. It survived into the 16th century, but by then had lost much of its former strength and importance.
The Mali Empire began to weaken by the mid 14th century. The Songhai took advantage of this and asserted their independence. The Songhai made Gao their capital and began an imperial expansion of their own throughout the western Sahel. And by 1420, Songhai was strong enough to exact tribute from Masina. The emerging Songhai Empire and the declining Mali Empire co-existed during much of the later 14th and throughout the 15th century. In the later 15th century, control of Timbuktu shifted to the Songhai Empire.
The Songhai empire eventually collapsed under the pressure from the Moroccan Saadi dynasty. The turning point was the Battle of Tondibi of 13 March 1591. Morocco subsequently controlled Gao, Timbuktu, Djenné (also seen as Jenne), and related trade routes with much difficulty until around the end of the 17th century.
After the collapse of the Songhai Empire, no single state-controlled the region. The Moroccans only succeeded in occupying a few portions of the country, and even in those locations where they did attempt to rule, their hold was weak and challenged by rivals. Several small successor kingdoms arose. the most notable in what is now Mali were:
Bambara Empire or the Kingdom of Segou Edit
The Bambara Empire existed as a centralized state from 1712 to 1861, was based at Ségou and also Timbuktu (also seen as Segu), and ruled parts of central and southern Mali. It existed until El Hadj Umar Tall, a Toucouleur conqueror swept across West Africa from Futa Tooro. Umar Tall's mujahideen readily defeated the Bambara, seizing Ségou itself on March 10, 1861, and declaring an end to the empire.
Kingdom of Kaarta Edit
A split in the Coulibaly dynasty in Ségou led to the establishment of a second Bambara state, the kingdom of Kaarta, in what is now western Mali, in 1753. It was defeated in 1854 by Umar Tall, leader of Toucouleur Empire, before his war with Ségou.
Kenedougou Kingdom Edit
The Senufo Kenedugu Kingdom originated in the 17th century in the area around what is now the border of Mali and Burkina Faso. In 1876 the capital was moved to Sikasso. It resisted the effort of Samori Ture, leader of Wassoulou Empire, in 1887, to conquer it, and was one of the last kingdoms in the area to fall to the French in 1898.
An Islamic-inspired uprising in the largely Fula Inner Niger Delta region against rule by Ségou in 1818 led to the establishment of a separate state. It later allied with Bambara Empire against Umar Tall's Toucouleur Empire and was also defeated by it in 1862.
Toucouleur Empire Edit
This empire, founded by El Hadj Umar Tall of the Toucouleur peoples, beginning in 1864, ruled eventually most of what is now Mali until the French conquest of the region in 1890. This was in some ways a turbulent period, with ongoing resistance in Messina and increasing pressure from the French.
Wassoulou Empire Edit
The Wassoulou or Wassulu Empire was a short-lived (1878–1898) empire, led by Samori Ture in the predominantly Malinké area of what is now upper Guinea and southwestern Mali (Wassoulou). It later moved to Ivory Coast before being conquered by the French.÷
Mali fell under French colonial rule in 1892.  In 1893, the French appointed a civilian governor of the territory they called Soudan Français (French Sudan), but active resistance to French rule continued. By 1905, most of the area was under firm French control.
French Sudan was administered as part of the Federation of French West Africa and supplied labor to France's colonies on the coast of West Africa. In 1958 the renamed Sudanese Republic obtained complete internal autonomy and joined the French Community. In early 1959, the Sudanese Republic and Senegal formed the Federation of Mali. On 31 March 1960 France agreed to the Federation of Mali becoming fully independent.  On 20 June 1960 the Federation of Mali became an independent country and Modibo Keïta became its first President.
Following the withdrawal of Senegal from the federation in August 1960, the former Sudanese Republic became the Republic of Mali on 22 September 1960, with Modibo Keïta as president.
President Modibo Keïta, whose Sudanese Union-African Democratic Rally (US/RDA) party had dominated pre-independence politics (as a member of the African Democratic Rally), moved quickly to declare a single-party state and to pursue a socialist policy based on extensive nationalization. Keïta withdrew from the French Community and also had close ties to the Eastern bloc. A continuously deteriorating economy led to a decision to rejoin the Franc Zone in 1967 and modify some of the economic excesses.
In 1962-64 there was Tuareg insurgency in northern Mali.
One-party rule Edit
On November 09, 1968, a group of young officers staged a bloodless coup and set up a 14-member Military Committee for National Liberation (CMLN), with Lt. Moussa Traoré as president. The military leaders attempted to pursue economic reforms, but for several years faced debilitating internal political struggles and the disastrous Sahelian drought.
A new constitution, approved in 1974, created a one-party state and was designed to move Mali toward civilian rule. However, the military leaders remained in power. In September 1976, a new political party was established, the Democratic Union of the Malian People (UDPM), based on the concept of democratic centralism. Single-party presidential and legislative elections were held in June 1979, and Gen. Moussa Traoré received 99% of the votes. His efforts at consolidating the single-party government were challenged in 1980 by student-led anti-government demonstrations that led to three coup attempts, which were brutally quashed.
The political situation stabilized during 1981 and 1982, and remained generally calm throughout the 1980s. In late December 1985, however, a border dispute between Mali and Burkina Faso over the mineral rich Agacher strip erupted into a brief war. The UDPM spread its structure to Cercles and Arrondissements across the land.
Shifting its attention to Mali's economic difficulties, the government approved plans for some reforms of the state enterprise system, and attempted to control public corruption. It implemented cereal marketing liberalization, created new incentives to private enterprise, and worked out a new structural adjustment agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). But the populace became increasingly dissatisfied with the austerity measures imposed by the IMF plan as well as their perception that the ruling elite was not subject to the same strictures. In response to the growing demands for multiparty democracy then sweeping the continent, the Traoré regime did allow some limited political liberalization. In National Assembly elections in June 1988, multiple UDPM candidates were permitted to contest each seat, and the regime organized nationwide conferences to consider how to implement democracy within the one-party framework. Nevertheless, the regime refused to usher in a full-fledged democratic system.
However, by 1990, cohesive opposition movements began to emerge, including the National Democratic Initiative Committee and the Alliance for Democracy in Mali (Alliance pour la Démocratie au Mali, ADEMA). The increasingly turbulent political situation was complicated by the rise of ethnic violence in the north in mid-1990. The return to Mali of large numbers of Tuareg who had migrated to Algeria and Libya during the prolonged drought increased tensions in the region between the nomadic Tuareg and the sedentary population. Ostensibly fearing a Tuareg secessionist movement in the north, the Traoré regime imposed a state of emergency and harshly repressed Tuareg unrest. Despite the signing of a peace accord in January 1991, unrest and periodic armed clashes continued.
Transition to multiparty democracy Edit
As in other African countries, demands for multi-party democracy increased. The Traoré government allowed some opening of the system, including the establishment of an independent press and independent political associations, but insisted that Mali was not ready for democracy. In early 1991, student-led anti-government rioting broke out again, but this time it was supported also by government workers and others. On March 26, 1991, after 4 days of intense anti-government rioting, a group of 17 military officers, led by Amadou Toumani Touré, arrested President Traoré and suspended the constitution.
Within days, these officers joined with the Coordinating Committee of Democratic Associations to form a predominantly civilian, 25-member ruling body, the Transitional Committee for the Salvation of the People (CTSP). The CTSP then appointed a civilian-led government. A national conference held in August 1991 produced a draft constitution (approved in a referendum January 12, 1992), a charter for political parties, and an electoral code. Political parties were allowed to form freely. Between January and April 1992, a president, National Assembly, and municipal councils were elected. On June 8, 1992, Alpha Oumar Konaré, the candidate of ADEMA, was inaugurated as the president of Mali's Third Republic.
In 1997, attempts to renew national institutions through democratic elections ran into administrative difficulties, resulting in a court-ordered annulment of the legislative elections held in April 1997. The exercise, nonetheless, demonstrated the overwhelming strength of President Konaré's ADEMA party, causing some other historic parties to boycott subsequent elections. President Konaré won the presidential election against scant opposition on May 11. In the two-round legislative elections conducted on July 21 and August 3, ADEMA secured over 80% of the National Assembly seats.  
Konaré stepped down after his constitutionally mandated limit of two terms and did not run in the 2002 elections. Touré then reemerged, this time as a civilian. Running as an independent on a platform of national unity, Touré won the presidency in a runoff against the candidate of Adema, which had been divided by infighting and suffered from the creation of a spin-off party, the Rally for Mali. Touré had retained great popularity because of his role in the transitional government in 1991–92. The 2002 election was a milestone, marking Mali's first successful transition from one democratically elected president to another, despite the persistence of electoral irregularities and low voter turnout. In the 2002 legislative elections, no party gained a majority Touré then appointed a politically inclusive government and pledged to tackle Mali's pressing social and economic development problems. 
On 22 March 2012, it was reported that rebel troops from the military appeared on state TV announcing they had seized control of the country.  Unrest over the president's handling of the conflict with the rebels was a motivating force. The former president was forced into hiding.
However, due to the 2012 insurgency in northern Mali, the military government controls only the southern third of the country, leaving the north of the country (known as Azawad) to MNLA rebels. The rebels control Timbuktu, 700 km from the capital.  In response, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) froze assets and imposed an embargo, leaving some with only days of fuel. Mali is dependent on fuel imports trucked overland from Senegal and Ivory Coast. 
As of July 17, 2012, the Tuareg rebels have since been pushed out by their allies, the Islamists, Ansar Dine, and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (A.Q.I.M.).  An extremist ministate in northern Mali is the unexpected result from the collapse of the earlier coup d'etat by the angry army officers. 
Refugees in the 92,000-person refugee camp at Mbera, Mauritania, describe the Islamists as "intent on imposing an Islam of lash and gun on Malian Muslims."  The Islamists in Timbuktu have destroyed about a half-dozen venerable above-ground tombs of revered holy men, proclaiming the tombs contrary to Shariah.  One refugee in the camp spoke of encountering Afghans, Pakistanis and Nigerians. 
Ramtane Lamamra, the African Union's peace and security commissioner, said the African Union has discussed sending a military force to reunify Mali and that negotiations with terrorists had been ruled out but negotiations with other armed factions is still open. 
On 10 December 2012 Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra was arrested by soldiers and taken to a military base in Kati.  Hours later, the Prime Minister announced his resignation and the resignation of his government on national television. 
On 10 January 2013, Islamist forces captured the strategic town of Konna, located 600 km from the capital, from the Malian army.  The following day, the French military launched Opération Serval, intervening in the conflict. 
By 8 February, the Islamist-held territory had been re-taken by the Malian military, with help from the international coalition. Tuareg separatists have continued to fight the Islamists as well, although the MNLA has also been accused of carrying out attacks against the Malian military. 
A peace deal between the government and Tuareg rebels was signed on 18 June 2013.
Presidential elections were held in Mali on 28 July 2013, with a second round run-off held on 11 August.  Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta defeated Soumaïla Cissé in the run-off to become the new President of Mali.
The peace deal between the Tuareg rebels and Malian government was broken in late November 2013 because of clashes in the northern city of Kidal.  A new ceasefire was agreed upon on 20 February 2015 between the Malian government and the northern rebels. 
Since 5 June 2020 street protests calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta began in Bamako. On 18 August 2020 mutinying soldiers arrested President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and Prime Minister Boubou Cissé. President Keïta resigned and left the country. The National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Assimi Goïta took power, meaning the fourth coup happened since independence from France in 1960.  On 12 September 2020, the National Committee for the Salvation of the People agreed to an 18-month political transition to civilian rule.  Shortly after, Bah N'Daw was named interim president.
Support forcultural preservation: For the first time, a Security Council resolution includes the protection of cultural and historic sites in the mandate of a peacekeeping operation.
MINUSMA, in collaboration with UNESCO, is mandated to support the Malian authorities in protecting Mali’s cultural and historic sites from attacks. The mission has also been asked to operate mindfully in the vicinity of cultural and historical sites.
In Mali (between April 2012 and January 2013)
The cultural heritage in the North of Mali – sites, objects or cultural practices and expressions – was subject to repeated attacks and suffered heavy damages, particularly in the cities of Timbuktu and Gao.
In Timbuktu, 14 of the 16 mausoleums that are part of world heritage were destroyed. Attacks targeted and completely destroyed the two mausoleums of the Djingareyber mosque, as well as the El Farouk monument. The sacred door of the Sidi Yahia mosque was broken. In September 2013, a suicide attack seriously damaged other buildings in the city, including manuscript libraries. About 4,200 manuscripts of the Institut des Hautes Etudes et de Recherches Islamiques Ahmed Baba (IHERI-AB) were burned by armed groups.
Photos from the first mission of UNESCO experts to Timbuktu on 6 June 2013 show the damage at the different sites.
The reconstruction of mausoleums and the rehabilitation of manuscript libraries are currently underway in Timbuktu. MINUSMA has notably launched a Quick Impact Project (QIP) for the rehabilitation of four manuscript libraries.
In the city and region of Gao, numerous musical instruments were burned in May 2012 and the El Kebir mausoleum was destroyed in October 2012.
A video shows UNESCO’s first mission to evaluate the damage to cultural heritage in Gao.
In Douentza, the great Toguna in the city center was looted and the sculpted pillars were burned.
Intangible heritage was also affected by events. The oral expressions and traditions existing in Mali allow populations to express and transmit their values and knowledge and are, in particular, tools for the resolution of conflicts and to create inter- and intra-community cohesion. Numerous cultural events and practices were interrupted from the beginning of the conflict.
There are eight Malian items on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Charter of Manden was added in 2009 and has been part of the Malian cultural heritage since March 2011. It is one of the oldest constitutions in the world, advocating for social peace through diversity, the inviolability of the human person, the importance of education, food security, as well as freedom of expression and enterprise.
In December 2013, the practices and knowledge linked to the imzad of the Tuareg communities of Algeria, Mali and Niger were also added to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Imzad music is played by women and provides a melodic and therapeutic accompaniment for poetic and popular songs, glorifying the heroes of the past or chasing away evil spirits.
In March 2014, Mali began an inventory of its intangible cultural heritage, starting with the regions of the north. The inventory particularly aims to identify and document knowledge and practices related to nature, oral traditions, rituals and festive events, traditional crafts and traditional practices related to the prevention and resolution of conflicts.
MINUSMA works in close cooperation with UNESCO to support the Malian authorities in the implementation of this project and help the Malian population reclaim the richness of its tangible and intangible cultural heritage. To contribute to the protection of the Malian cultural heritage, UNESCO has developed the “Heritage Passport” for the north of Mali. This aims to facilitate Mali’s implementation of its Law on Heritage and UNESCO’s four international Conventions, which are linked:
- The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972), ratified by Mali on 5 April 1977
- The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954), ratified by Mali on 18 May 1961, and its Second Protocol (1999), which Mali signed on 15 November 2012
- The Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (1970), ratified by Mali on 6 April 1987
- The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003), ratified by Mali on 3 June 2005
To implement its mandate, MINUSMA engages in a number of activities through its Environment and Culture Unit:
- The training of all civil, military and police personnel to raise their awareness of Malian cultural heritage
- Support to the programme coordinated by UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture to rehabilitate the damaged heritage sites in the North of Mali
- Support for the resumption of cultural events in the northern regions of Mali, contributing to the transmission of intangible heritage and social cohesion.
“Culture is more than a monument.” “Protecting culture is supporting people and giving them the strength to rebuild, to look towards the future,” as Irina Bokova, the Director General of UNESCO, said on 4 June 2013.
Islamist rebels in Mali destroy Timbuktu historic sites
Islamist rebels who have seized control of northern Mali used axes, shovels and automatic weapons to destroy tombs and other cultural and religious monuments for a third day on Monday, including bashing in the door of a 15th century mosque in Timbuktu, news agencies reported.
Rebels of the Ansar Dine faction fighting to assert Sharia law over the African nation at the crossroads of ancient trade routes ignored the appeals of United Nations officials over the weekend to cease the "wanton destruction" of the region's cultural heritage.
In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday called on "all parties to exercise their responsibility to preserve the cultural heritage of Mali," saying the attacks "are totally unjustified.”
Irina Bokova, head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, on Saturday urged the Ansar Dine fighters “to stop these terrible and irreversible acts” after militants smashed mud-walled tombs in Timbuktu.
On Monday, the Islamists, who claim allegiance to Al Qaeda, tore open the door to the Sidi Yahia mosque, telling townspeople they were wiping out "idolatry" at the monuments to Sufi Islamic saints and scholars.
"In legend, it is said that the main gate of Sidi Yahia mosque will not be opened until the last day [of the world]," said the town imam, Alpha Abdoulahi, according to Reuters news agency, which reached him in Timbuktu by telephone.
In radio and television interviews from Senegal, the newly appointed chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, warned the rebels that destruction of religious and cultural heritage could lead to war crimes charges.
“The only tribunal we recognize is the divine court of Sharia,” the Associated Press quoted Ansar Dine spokesmen Oumar Ould Hamaha as saying in response to Bensouda's warning.
The AP said Hamaha justified the destruction as a divine order to pull down idolatrous constructions "so that future generations don't get confused, and start venerating the saints as if they are God.”
Timbuktu had been developed as a tourist attraction, with locals operating hotels, guest houses and guided tours for visitors to the ancient sub-Saharan trading post and Islamic educational center.
Hamaha told the AP that Ansar Dine opposes tourists' coming to the religious sites, saying they "foster debauchery."
UNESCO put Timbuktu and the nearby Tomb of Askia on its List of World Heritage in Danger last week, after the Ansar Dine rebels seized the region that has been beset by a three-way civil war since a March 22 coup deposed Mali's government. The Islamist radicals have been fighting for territory with Taureg separatists since the latter defeated Mali government troops in the spring, leaving the capital Bamako rudderless and incapable of putting down either rebellion in the remote north.
"Timbuktu was an intellectual and spiritual capital and a center for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries," UNESCO notes on its website. "Its three great mosques, Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, recall Timbuktu's golden age."
The sites designated as important cultural heritage represent "the power and riches of the empire that flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries through its control of the trans-Saharan trade," UNESCO recalls in its description.
Fundamentalist Salafist Muslims have also attacked Sufi heritage sites in Libya and Egypt over the past year, and Al Qaeda-allied Taliban militants a decade ago blew up two 6th Century Buddha figures carved into a mountainside near Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, on the same grounds that they idolized false gods.
-- Carol J. Williams in Los Angeles
Photo: A still from a video shows Islamist militants attacking a shrine in Timbuktu on Sunday. Credit: AFP / Getty Images
Mali — History and Culture
Mali may be one of the world’s poorest countries today, but was one of Africa’s mightiest empires in its glory days. The Malian people are justifiably proud of their country’s history and diverse cultures able to peacefully interact with each other. The nomadic desert lifestyle of Northern Mali’s Maure and Tuareg tribes has remained relatively unchanged for centuries.
Mali’s recorded history began with the Ghana Empire, which extended across the borders of present-day Mali and Mauritania during the 4th and 11th centuries. The Ghana Empire’s golden age began after camels were domesticated and able to transport salt, gold and ivory as far as the Middle East, North Africa and even Europe. Bamako’s National Museum of Mali (Kati) provides the most detailed displays of the country’s rich history.
It is unclear exactly when the Ghana Empire became part of the much larger Mali Empire, but by the early 14th century, Mali was one of Africa’s largest gold suppliers and most powerful states. Timbuktu became the leading center of Islamic education, with no fewer than 180 religious schools, three universities and countless private libraries. The largest library on Earth was once housed inside the Djinguereber Mosque (Askia Mohamed Boulevard, Timbuktu), one of Timbuktu’s few surviving landmarks from the golden era.
Timbuktu’s prominence and prosperity increased even further after Emperor Mansa Musa I brought a slew of gold and slaves to Mecca in 1324, but the Songhai Empire from present-day Nigeria eventually displaced them by the late 15th century. The Moroccan army, who defeated the Songhai by 1590, could not hold the area for very long, and Mali eventually split into several smaller states.
European sea routes to the New World further diminished the importance of trans-Saharan trade. By the time Mali became part of French West Africa in 1895, the region experienced several Fulani and Tuareg invasions. Between WWI and WWII, trade unions and student groups led an independence movement which eventually resulted in the Federation of Mali becoming an independent nation in 1960. Senegal, originally part of the Federation of Mali, became a separate country shortly afterward.
Mali’s first president, Modibo Keita, a descendant of the country’s powerful empires, imposed his own one-party state which a bloodless military coup overthrew in 1968. Drought and political protests brought further poverty and instability during the 1970's and 80's. Mali finally became a multiparty democracy in 1992, the year Alpha Oumar Konaré became the country’s first fairly elected president.
Years of conflict between Mali’s military and the country’s Tuareg nomads came to a head in 2012, when Tuareg and Islamist forces led an uprising against President Touré. The Islamist groups seized control of northern Mali including Timbuktu and imposed Sharia law. The country once again faces an uncertain future following one of the most unstable decades in recent history.
From the nomadic Tuareg, Fulani, Bozo fishers, Bambara, and Dogon farmers, each of Mali’s dozens of ethnic groups have their own unique languages and history, yet generally interact amicably with each other. Each of these has passed down their own traditions, history and occupations over the centuries. Malian music and literature have both been heavily influenced by longtime oral storytelling. Traditional storytellers called griots often perform at weddings and other special events.
The colorful flowing robes many locals wear are called boubout, but handmade cotton mud cloth fabric also plays an important role in Mali’s culture and economy. Although most of the population is Muslim, Christian holidays are also observed and businesses close for half days on Friday and Sunday, as well as all day on Saturday's. Most Malians are respectful to visitors who give equal respect to their religious and cultural beliefs.
Cultural Heritage Sites of Mali
Mali boasts some of the world’s most fascinating architectural traditions and historic sites. When armed conflict began in the northern regions of Mali in April 2012, the country became emblematic of the dangers that warfare can pose to cultural heritage. Historic Malian sites in Gao and Kidal suffered significant destruction in the struggle, and the Great Toguna in the city of Douenza was ruined. Nine of the 16 mausoleums within the World Heritage Site boundaries of Timbuktu were destroyed by rebel forces between May and July of 2012, and even those sites not directly impacted by the fighting had been damaged. Rebels occupied parts of the Land of Dogons, encroaching on the Bandiagara Escarpment. Tourism—a major source of income in Mali— diminished dramatically, and the national crisis drained government coffers. The conditions were dire and resources scarce for conservation throughout the country when the entirety of Mali’s cultural heritage was included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch. In recognizing these sites, we declared our commitment to advocating for the protection of the country’s many significant sites, and raised a call for action by the global community.
Historic Villages In Pennsylvania
What historic landmarks in Pennsylvania can I visit?
In addition to the above list of historic villages in Pennsylvania, as one of the original 13 colonies, Pennsylvania has 169 National Historic Landmarks. Valley Forge is one of the best-known landmarks as it was an area used as a military camp during the Revolutionary War. Another landmark of note is the Eastern State Penitentiary where you can take a day or night tour of this historic prison and see Al Capone’s old cell.
Are there any museums where I can learn about Pennsylvania history?
While many of the historic sites around the state have museums, there are quite a few museums where you can learn more about the history of the commonwealth. To learn about the state’s military history, visit the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg which has over 10,000 artifacts including tanks. You can also learn military history at the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum which is actually located inside the same building as a Trader Joe’s in Media, so you can shop for groceries and learn something all in one trip.
What are the most historic towns in Pennsylvania?
As the host to the most famous battle of the Civil War, Gettysburg is one historic town in Pennsylvania that everyone should visit. Head to the Gettysburg National Military Park to learn about the war and the role this town played in it. The town of Lititz was founded in 1756 by Moravians who were seeking religious freedom. If you visit, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time with the numerous preserved historic homes and buildings. And while you’re there, you may as well stop by Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, which was founded in 1861 and is the oldest pretzel bakery in the country.
How did the world react?
At the time, the international consensus on peacekeeping practices was being dictated by the UN Brahimi Report an attempt to learn from previous intervention embarrassments like Rwanda and Bosnia. The report recommended third-generation peacekeeping operations to focus on regional responses they were pretty much told to stop with the modern version of White Man&rsquos Burden or Mission Civilatrice. However, if it became necessary, they were allowed to use Chapter VII of the UN Charter- to go all out on the use of force. And so, when the Malian government requested foreign intervention, the international response was carefully planned out.
Firstly, regional efforts were prioritized as the UN authorized ECOWAS to create the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), a more than 6,000 troop initiative. Similarly, the AU pushed forward the African Union Mission for Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL), which served as technical and training support. France, as an ex-colonialist power interested in protecting French citizens in the region, in controlling migration flows and in preventing terrorism (as well as in the expansion of Françafrique, let no one fool you), was permitted to intervene through Operation Serval.
Regardless of these carefully planned efforts, the conflict continued to spread across borders, and it started to become a threat for the Western sphere as terrorism moved outside of the Sahel region. That&rsquos when the UN threw the house out of the window, absorbed AFISMA&rsquos forces and created the second largest peacekeeping mission in its history the Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
To hell with regional efforts.
Another beautiful example of how much regional efforts were prioritized (not), was France&rsquos intervention. In 2014, it upgraded Operation Serval to Operation Barkhane, its largest overseas campaign with more than 5,000 troops and a yearly budget of almost 600mn euros. Regardless of successes, like the assassination of AQIM&rsquos leader Abdemadel Droukdel, this operation faces severe opposition in the region and at home. In France, citizens are tired of sending their soldiers to die, as more than 50 have been killed since 2014. In the Mali, France&rsquos intervention is seen as an insult to national sovereignty with some Neo-colonialist undertones.
In the meantime, the five countries most affected by the spillover effects &ndashBurkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania, Chad and Mali- created the G5 Sahel, an intergovernmental cooperation framework. A couple of years later, the group realized the futility of international efforts and created the G5 Sahel Joint Force, which counts with more than 5,000 solders.
If required, all of these operations have the right to use full force.
Landmarks in Mali photo gallery
Natural landmarks in Mali
In desert and semi-arid areas, which cover over 65% of the area of Mali live nomads who managed to preserve traditions of the peoples mandate and the Tuareg. If you like romance recommend you take a boat trip on the River Niger in particular Koima Dune.
The sunsets here are amazing. Also interesting landmark is Mount Hombori, this is the highest point in Mali. Is a large monolithic rock rising amid the endless savannah. At the foot of Mount Hombori caves where there are pictures of people lived here thousands of years ago.
From historical landmarks in Mali can mention the tomb of Askia. It is the burial of Askia Mohammed I, founder of the Songhai Empire.
The tomb itself was built from mud in 1495 and is now preserved its authentic form.
If you want to see how people live in the rocks, then in Bandiagara Cliffs've come to the right place. Bandiagara Cliffs is a 135 km rock wall on which were built the homes of the people.
To the south of this wall is the low fertile plain and it's protected by UNESCO. National Park Boucle du Baoele will not see wildlife rather unique collection of prehistoric rock paintings and tombs.
Other sites that have been protected by UNESCO old town of Djenne, and in particular the great mosque and the city of Timbuktu in its historical and cultural values. How much more interesting are the attractions in Nigeria or landmarks in Mali you can own each to answer, but if you have extra time, visit Niger.
If you want to spend a unique picnic by the water and bathe in the warm spray of the waterfall, it Woroni Falls is your place. The waterfall is 20 meters high and below it has a nice pool for swimming.
The place is surrounded by lush vegetation and is a popular destination for tourists tent camp in nature.