During the 13th to 17th centuries, Timbuktu, in Northern Mali, was said to be the center of Islamic learning. Unfortunately, three years ago, extremists destroyed many of the historical sites. But there is good news. Local stonemasons, working for Unesco, the UN’s cultural arm, have recently restored many of the ancient mausoleums, shrines and tombs of Sufi saints.
Director General of Unesco, Irina Bokova, called the restoration “a lesson in tolerance, dialogue and peace.”