Timbuktu – old trade and university town in Sahara desert, Mali

Timbuktu was a world centre of Islamic learning from the 13th to the 17th century. In its Golden Age, the town’s numerous Islamic scholars and extensive trading network made for a important book trade: together with the campuses of the Sankore madrassah, an Islamic university, this established Timbuktu as a scholarly centre in Africa. Timbuktu is a metaphor for a distant or outlandish place.