Timbuktu is a historical city in West Africa that is still inhabited. It is located in Mali, 20 km north of River Niger, in Africa. The city was formed when seasonal settlements inhabited it permanently around the 12th century.
Why it is special: Lying on the southern edge of the Sahara (Desert), the town flourished when trade routes shifted in Africa. Trade in salt, ivory, gold and slaves helped the town to thrive. Notable scholars and writers have extensively described the town in their works, which gradually created an allure about the town being both rich and mysterious. From the 13th-17th century, Timbuktu was the world centre of Islamic learning.