Timbuktu (Republik of Mali)

Twin city since 1968

Children in the Rue de Chemnitz

Timbuktu is an oasis city in the West African state of Mali. It is situated five kilometres from the Niger River and has been a centre for trans-Saharan trade for centuries. The city has been a centre of learning in the Islamic world since as far back as the 15th and 16th centuries with Sankoré University.

The three mosques that are major features of the city, the Djinguereber Mosque, Sankoré Mosque and Sidi Yahia Mosque, have been UNESCO World Heritage sites since 1988. The city’s World Heritage sites also include 16 cemeteries and mausoleums.

The 1990s saw the Tuareg rebellion with the aim of proclaiming an independent state. The rebellion ended in 1996 with a symbolic weapon burning. The Flame of Peace in Timbuktu recalls the historic peace accord.


In 2006, Timbuktu was a World Capital of Islamic Culture.


In April 2012, the city was occupied by Islamist rebels and was only recaptured by Malian and French troops in January 2013. Assaults, detentions and torture took place during the occupation. Schools were closed, and the local infrastructure was entirely destroyed. Shortly before the city was recaptured, the Islamists set a library on fire, destroying unique centuries-old manuscripts. The City of Chemnitz donated 10,000 euros to support the reconstruction of schools and infrastructure; the money was raised by donations from residents.

Within the framework of the city partnership, the City of Chemnitz has also donated funds to the following projects: extensive tree planting in Timbuktu, the provision of school materials, a transport of relief supplies providing medical equipment and appliances, and a solar plant for the regional hospital. Representatives of the German Development Service (DED) lent valuable support to these projects on the ground.

Area:147,9 km²

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