20 underrated cities around the world you should visit in your lifetime; Talia Lakritz; Business Insider

These cities may not be as well-known as their touristy counterparts, but they have just as much to offer (and will probably be less crowded, too).

Source: 20 underrated cities around the world you should visit in your lifetime

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Why War-Torn Mali Is Looking to China to Revive Tourism; Anna Pujol-Mazzini; Time

With four UNESCO World Heritage sites, Mali used to be one of Africa’s top tourist destinations…

Source: Why War-Torn Mali Is Looking to China to Revive Tourism

Rendering Ceremony of the Historic Grand Mosque in Mali; Al Bawaba

Several thousand residents of the historic central Malian city of Djenne, a UNESCO World Heritage site, took part in the annual rendering ceremony of the Grand Mosque, which will now be powered by solar electricity.  The rendering of the building with banco (a mixture of soil and water, with rice bran, shea butter and baobab powder) made by the city’s inhabitants, helps to protect the mosque from bad weather ahead of the rainy season. The Grand Mosque in the Malian city of Djenne described as “the largest adobe…

Source: Rendering Ceremony of the Historic Grand Mosque in Mali | Al Bawaba

Photos of the Week: German Asparagus, Traffic Zebras, Enormous Bear; Alan Taylor; Atlantic

The Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali, pet rescue in flooded Quebec, the NRA Fashion and Firearms show in Indiana, a giant “spider” in New York, an attempted uprising in Venezuela, a tornado in Romania, and much more…

Source: Photos of the Week: German Asparagus, Traffic Zebras, Enormous Bear

Mali: Thousands take part in annual Grand mosque plaster; AFP

The city of Djenne in Central Mali has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage list since 1988.

Source: Mali: Thousands take part in annual Grand mosque plaster

Technology in sub-Saharan Cultures; Khaleel Shaikh; The Muslim Times

Genetic and paleontological findings have concluded that Africa is the birthplace of the entire human race. Africa is often thought of as a continent rich in natural beauty and…

Source: Technology in sub-Saharan Cultures

25 Attractions People Need To See ASAP (Because They Won’t Exist In 2030); Yasmin Purnell; The Travel

Tick them off the bucket list while you can…

Source: 25 Attractions People Need To See ASAP (Because They Won’t Exist In 2030)

British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme sheds new light on the history of Africa and Islam; Nick Leech; The National 

Beyond Timbuktu: Preserving the Manuscripts of Djenne, Mali is a new initiative from the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme…

Source: British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme sheds new light on the history of Africa and Islam 

See the Striking Earthen City of Timbuktu

This West African city—long synonymous with the uttermost end of the Earth—was added to the World Heritage List in 1988, many centuries after its apex.Timbuktu was a center of Islamic scholarship under several African empires, home to a 25,000-student university and other madrasahs that served as wellsprings for the spread of Islam throughout Africa from the 13th to 16th centuries. Sacred Muslim texts, in bound editions, were carried great distances to Timbuktu for the use of eminent scholars from Cairo, Baghdad, Persia, and elsewhere who were in residence at the city. The great teachings of Islam, from astronomy and mathematics to medicine and law, were collected and produced here in several hundred thousand manuscripts. Many of them remain, though in precarious condition, to form a priceless written record of African history. Read more here.

Source: See the Striking Earthen City of Timbuktu

Malian jihadist handed over to ICC on war crimes charges; AFP

Mali – Timbuktu

A Malian jihadist was arrested Saturday and handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face war crimes charges for the destruction of Timbuktu and sex slavery, the tribunal said.

Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud was detained by the Malian authorities and has now arrived at the tribunal’s detention centre in The Hague, the court said in a late-night statement.

The 40-year-old is alleged to have been a member of the Al-Qaeda linked Ansar Dine and the de facto chief of the Islamic police from April 2012 to January 2013.

He faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the destruction of the holy shrines of Timbuktu between 2012-2013 as well as accusations of rape and forced marriage.

Hassan allegedly “participated in the policy of forced marriages which victimised the female inhabitants of Timbuktu and led to repeated rapes and the sexual enslavement of women and girls,” the court said in a statement.

Read more from source: Malian jihadist handed over to ICC on war crimes charges

Meet the scientists immortalizing African heritage in virtual reality; Chris Giles; CNN

Mali – Old Towns of Djenné

(CNN)The archaeological wonders of the world offer a rich window into the past. But many are crumbling, weed-laden and victim to vandalism and conflict.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as those in Libya and Mali, have been caught in the crossfire of regional disputes.
Concerned with the decay of African heritage sites, The Zamani Project, based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, is seeking to immortalize historic spots in three-dimensional, virtual reality-ready models.
Professor Heinz Ruther steers the project. He ventures up and down the continent — visiting Ghana, Tanzania, Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya and elsewhere — recording in remarkable detail the structure and condition of tombs, churches and other buildings.
“I’ve seen how sites are deteriorating visibly,” Ruther told CNN.
The project’s aim is to build a database of complex, lifelike 3-D models. Presently, they’ve mapped around 16 sites.

Nuclear Disarmament and the Protection of Cultural Heritage; Patricia Lewis; Chatham House

Mali – Old Towns of Djenné

States possessing nuclear weapons should be called upon to consider and publish the risks posed to cultural heritage, and their mitigation strategies, in their nuclear-weapons doctrines and policies.

Summary

  • Renewed risk assessments for nuclear weapons and policies are taking place around the world in light of nuclear modernization and the changing geostrategic environment that is making the use of nuclear weapons more likely. As such the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons and tests have received increased attention. However, the effect on cultural heritage has so far been neglected.
  • The potential for armed conflict to destroy cultural heritage has been recognized in international law since 1954. There is significant evidence on the impact of nuclear weapons on cultural heritage including the consequences of their use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the effect of nuclear-testing programmes in places of cultural significance since 1945.

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Timbuktu’s mausoleums, ancient city protectors; Oman Observer

Mali – Timbuktu

The shrines of Muslim saints in Timbuktu in northern Mali are widely believed to protect the fabled city from danger, but were largely destroyed by radical Islamists in 2012.
Five years after their destruction the Timbuktu mausoleums have been restored through work carried out by local craftsmen, with help from the UN’s cultural arm UNESCO.
On Thursday the International Criminal Court in The Hague ruled that Malian militant Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi caused 2.7 million euros in damages when he destroyed some of the mausoleums and ordered the payment of compensation to victims.
Mahdi, of the Tuareg people, was jailed for nine years by the court in a landmark verdict in September 2016 after he pleaded guilty to directing attacks on the UNESCO World Heritage site.

‘City of 333 saints’

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Islamist who led destruction in Timbuktu must pay £2.5m; Iain Burns; Daily Mail Online

Mali – Timbuktu

 

  • Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi was a member of the al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine group 
  • In 2012, he led axe-wielding Islamists who wrecked Timbuktu’s ancient buildings
  • Now the International Criminal Court has ruled he must pay £2.5m reparations
  • He was jailed for 9 years in a previous hearing, after apologising for his actions

An Islamic extremist found guilty of a war crime for destroying World Heritage sites in Timbuktu has been told he must pay £2.5million in reparations.

The International Criminal Court in the Netherlands today ruled that Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, a onetime member of the al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine group, must pay for damage to the buildings, economic losses and moral harm to victims.

Al Mahdi had intentionally directed attacks against nine saints’ mausoleums and a mosque door in 2012.

 

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ICC to award damages for jihadist Timbuktu destruction; AFP

Mali – Timbuktu

War crimes judges will Thursday hand down a landmark ruling on reparations for the razing of Timbuktu’s fabled shrines, but the victims’ fund which is to implement the order warned it will not be easy.

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was jailed for nine years in 2016 after he pleaded guilty to directing attacks on the UNESCO world heritage site during the jihadist takeover of northern Mali in 2012.

Judges ruled last September that Mahdi “supervised the destruction and gave instructions to the attackers” who used pickaxes and bulldozers to hack apart some of the city’s most ancient landmarks.

Last month the judges announced they will hand down a decision on compensation for victims who suffered from the destruction of the ancient city’s centuries-old shrines and mausoleums.

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What You Need To Know About Mali’s 5-Century Monument, “Tomb of Askia”; Philip; How Africa News

Mali – Tomb of Askia

The Tomb of Askia, in Gao, Mali, is believed to be the burial place of Askia Mohammad I, one of the Songhai Empire’s most prolific emperors. It was built at the end of the fifteenth century and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Tomb of Askia is a secular monument that shares both the cultural and religious heritage of Mali.

The pyramid-shaped tomb also functions as a Mosque and is located in the northern town of Gao.

The archaeological site was built by Askia Mohammad I, a famous emperor of Songhai who reigned between the 15th and 16th century.

It is his burial place as Mohamed Soumaïlou Traoré, a cultural animator explains. “It is known as the Tomb of Askia, as a mosque, because Askia himself is buried here. Many of his sons, grandchildren, daughters are buried here.

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Archaeologists seek to promote tourism in Africa’s old Islamic sites; Reuters

Mali – Timbuktu

A group of archaeological experts met in Bahrain to discuss how to use their research on Africa’s archaeology to help promote the continent’s old Islamic sites.

The Islamic Archaeology in Global Perspective Conference, held in capital Manama, hoped to highlight the important role that archaeology has to play in large parts of Africa.

One such site is in Volubilis, Morocco – an important 3rd century BC outpost of the Roman Empire.

It is said to be one of the richest such sites in North Africa today, indicating the existence of several civilizations from a Christian era to the Islamic period.

 

 

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Endangered destinations to visit before they’re gone; Sarah Schmalbruch; Business Insider

Mali – Timbuktu

Earth is home to incredibly beautiful natural sites. But because of climate change and human carelessness, some of them are in danger of disappearing in the next 100 years — or even sooner.

From Patagonia’s glaciers to Africa’s Congo Basin, these threatened natural wonders span the globe.

Keep scrolling to see where you should visit sooner rather than later.

The Seychelles

A popular destination for honeymooners or paradise-seekers, the islands of the Seychelles — located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Madagascar — are vanishing because of beach erosion. They’re in danger of completely disappearing in the next 50 to 100 years.

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

The picturesque snow that tops Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania may not be there much longer. Between the years of 1912 and 2007, Kilimanjaro’s ice sheet shrank by a whopping 85%.

The Mirador Basin and Tikal National Park, Guatemala

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11 Vernacular Building Techniques on the Verge of Extinction; Ariana Zilliacus; ArchDaily

Mali – Cliff of Bandiagara (Land of the Dogons)

“Vernacular architecture can be said to be ‘the architectural language of the people’ with its ethnic, regional, and local ‘dialects,’” writes Paul Oliver, author of The Encyclopaedia of Vernacular Architecture of The World. Unfortunately, there has been a growing disregard for traditional architectural language around the world due to modern building technology quickly spreading a “loss of identity and cultural vibrancy” through what the Architectural Review recently described as “a global pandemic of generic buildings.”

People have come to see steel, concrete, and glass as architecture of high quality, whereas a lot of vernacular methods including adobe, reed, or peat moss are often associated with underdevelopment. Ironically, these local methods are far more sustainable and contextually aware than much contemporary architecture seen today, despite ongoing talks and debates about the importance of sustainability.

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Is the destruction of cultural property a war crime?; Brian I Daniels; Apollo Magazine

Mali – Timbuktu

The first prosecution at the International Criminal Court for destroying cultural heritage has led some to wonder if trying war crimes against people should take precedence. Is this criticism justified?

On 27 September 2016, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, convicted Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi of intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu, Mali during the 2012 occupation by Ansar Dine and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. As a leader of the Hisbah, or the Manners Brigade, Al Mahdi ordered attacks on mosques and shrines with pickaxes, chisels, and heavy machinery. His actions were a war crime under the Rome Statute – the international law establishing the ICC – and his conviction was never in real doubt. Al Mahdi confessed at his August trial, accepting his guilt and seeking forgiveness.

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