Sankore Madrasah also known as the University of Sankore or Sankore Masjid is one of three ancient centers of learning located in Timbuktu, Mali. It is believed to be established by Mansa Musa, who was the ruler of the Mali Empire. The three mosques of Sankore, Djinguereber, and Sidi Yahya compose the University of Timbuktu.
One of the three ancient centers of learning in Timbuktu is the Sankore Madrasa which along with the Djinguereber and Sidi Yahya makes up the University of Timbuktu. The Sankore mosque was founded in 989 AD by the Supreme Judge of Timbuktu, which later developed into a well-known center of learning. As more and more Muslim scholars began to frequent the mosque, it began to accumulate a large collection of books which became an invaluable commodity throughout the city. The University of Sankore had four levels of learning and were awarded turbans by the end of their time here to signify their mastery.
Things to do in Sankore Madrasah Timbuktu
Sankore mosque and university consisted of numerous buildings made of clay, stone beams, and a wooden scaffold for repairs after rainy seasons, modeled after the Malian indigenous mud structures. Each building was run by its own imam (worship leader) or ulema (Islamic scholar). There was no central authority within the school besides the ruler of Timbuktu. Classes were conducted in private rooms or open courtyards. Students used locally-made wooden boards and ink to complete assignments so it’s a huge history site you don’t need to miss while in Timbuktu.
How to get to Sankore Madrasah Timbuktu
You can check out for flights from Bamako to Timbuktu to take a bus or drive using a 4×4 but the journey is over 1000 kilometers and it can take two days
There is no way of getting to Timbuktu without crossing the Niger (river). In any case, from Douentza you will need to reach Kabara (or Kouriomé).
Kabara is the former port for Timbuktu. When the water is high enough the COMANAV ferry still comes here instead of Kouriomé.
Where stay while visiting Sankore Madrasah Timbuktu
Hotel du Desert
More of a bed and breakfast (snack) hotel. Rooms are fairly clean and they have working air conditioners, Located close to the center of town, one of the 2 best places to stay in Timbuktu. The staff is friendly food is ok. They have WiFi in the reception area which is fantastic while in Timbuktu.