A library in Timbuktu

From Architectural Record: “Just a few miles from the Niger River Delta [note: that should read Inner Niger Delta] in Mali, Timbuktu appears as a labyrinth of single-story mud buildings. A city of near-mythic status, it is the last outpost before the great Sahara Desert, a place synonymous with being almost impossible to reach. Despite its remote location, the city boasts a heritage of scholarship that has produced an astounding number of manuscripts. The new Ahmed Baba Institute of Higher Islamic Studies and Research, completed in 2009, introduces state-of-the-art techniques for conserving, exhibiting, and studying these famous Timbuktu manuscripts.”

Here’s  the exterior:

And here’s the interior:

And here are the books:

All pictures via. And thank you to my architect friend S. who pointed me here.


9 responses to “A library in Timbuktu

  1. Wow, beautiful building, I love the way it’s been designed on the inside. Sounds like a fantastic program / place.

  2. What a lovely library. It’s so nice to see something from a place I only know of from maps. Thanks for sharing this. You have a very nice blog here too.

  3. @ amy: the contrast between the exteriror and the interiors is quite dramatic, isn’t it?

    @ Sandra: Thank you! Yes, Timbuktu is one of those places most of us only know of from maps; the library somehow makes it feel closer now!

  4. So beautiful. I love it when things worth-preserving are preserved.

  5. Wow, amazing interior. So unexpected and so welcoming. More beautiful that most other libraries I’ve seen…

  6. @Nana: Agree! and when it applies to books, double agree!
    @Shripriya: Yes, I’ll never go there, but I am glad to know it exists.

  7. That’s a beautiful library, so cool-looking and light and airy.

    Though “a few miles from the Niger River delta”? The Niger River delta is in Nigeria, which is miles from Timbuktu, in Mali.

  8. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for posting them.

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