A fabled city of the Sahara: How much do you know about Timbuktu?

Timbuktu has a reputation in Western society as a distant, mysterious city. But it is a real place, and is back in the news after Tuareg rebels seized the city and implemented sharia. Can you separate Timbuktu's myth from reality?

Where is Timbuktu?

In South America's Amazon basin.

 

In Mali, at the edge of the Sahara desert.

 

In Tibet, high in the Kunlun mountain range.

 

Timbuktu is a myth – it doesn't really exist.

 

When was Timbuktu founded?

In the 5th century BC

 

In the 5th century AD

 

In the 8th century AD

 

In the 11th century AD

 

Timbuktu was recently seized by Tuareg rebels. But what people founded the city?

The Mande

 

The Songhai

 

The Tuareg

 

None of the above

 

The name Timbuktu has become synonymous in the West with remote, mysterious places. But how did Timbuktu get its name?

Its name is that of the leader of the Tuareg tribe that founded the village.

 

It was named for an old woman who lived there.

 

The name comes from a rare flower that is only found in the region around the city.

 

The city was named for a god believed to live in the nearby river.

 

Timbuktu is located along the banks of what river?

The Gambia River

 

The Niger River

 

The Nile

 

The Senegal River

 

Timbuktu's golden era was in the 16th century, when it was a major center of trade and learning. About how many students did the city host at its peak?

3,000

 

7,000

 

14,000

 

25,000

 

Like most schools of the time, the education provided at Timbuktu's universities was of a religious bent. What religion was their curriculum built around?

Animism

 

Christianity

 

Islam

 

Judaism

 

Westerners thought of Timbuktu as a mysterious city of wealth like El Dorado. When did the first Westerner return from the city?

1826

 

1828

 

1836

 

1842

 

Timbuktu has been a part of many territories and nations. Which of the following nations was Timbuktu NOT a part of?

Algeria

 

French Sudan

 

Mali Federation

 

Upper Senegal and Middle Niger

 

Despite its reputation for wealth, Timbuktu is actually a simple town built of clay. Which of these is not a real quote about the city?

"I had a totally different idea of the grandeur and wealth of Timbuktu."

 

"Is that it?"

 

"There is a mystery in Timbuktu, but it is something that you can only feel and not see."

 

"The town looks like an organic part of the desert - a fragment of the Sahara shaped into rectangular blocks, and elevated."

 

None of the above.