Talking Timbuktu

“Salt comes from the north, gold from the south, but the word of  God and the treasures of wisdom come from Timbuktu.”

Inspired by an article of the Italian issue of  Wired, I’d like to share with you my surprise and happiness about this news.

Timbuktu is the legendary city founded as a commercial center in West Africa nine hundred years ago. It is located in Mali and it has been an intellectual and spiritual capital and centre for the propagation of Islam  throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries.

In 14th century, scholars from Cairo and Baghdad used to attend Timbuktu’s University.

Nowdays, Timbuktu’s treasure is made of hundreds of ancient manuscripts. Most of them come from private collections owned by families in different villages nearby. Most of the are in terrible conditions because of dust, termites, mice.

Thanks to the commitment of different government and institutions, especially South African government, and to technology, there is a new hope for this tresure.

Three different actions for the same aim: firstly, with government funds private libraries became public.

Then,  South African government financed a new museum, according to the climate rules to preserve delicate papyrus.

Last but not the least, the restoration and the digitalization process of all the books and manuscript has been started.

Let’s imagine this mix: ancient manuscripts, technology and Sahara’s sand … The future is today!


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