Timbuktu is located near the loop of the Niger river, at the point where it is closest to the Sahara. Nicknamed “the city of 333 saints” or “the pearl of the desert”, it is a historic city of world renown which covers an area of 147.89 km².
Center for the spread of Islam in Africa, there is the Djingareyber Mosque which can accommodate more than 10,000 worshipers.
Timbuktu is home to the oldest university in Africa: the Koranic University of Sankoré.
Timbuktu had an estimated population of 32,000 in 2006. However, at the height of its grandeur in the fifteenth century, the city had about 100,000 inhabitants including 25,000 students for the only university of Sankoré. Today the city has a population of over 55,000. The three main ethnic groups in Timbuktu are the Tuaregs, the Songhai and the Arabs.
Although restored in the 16th century, the monuments of Timbuktu are today threatened by the advance of the sand.