“French tanks were closing in on this storied caravan city on the night of Jan. 23, when the al Qaeda-backed militants who had governed Timbuktu since April left a departing blow. They broke into one of the world’s most valuable libraries, ripping centuries-old manuscripts from shelves.
Then they torched these priceless artifacts, in a scene of destruction that horrified scholars around the world.
But in a relief for this beleaguered city, and in a triumph for bibliophiles, the vast bulk of the library was saved by wily librarians and a security guard ….” Read the complete story
Map from the Library’s Britannica Image Quest database.