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/ 23 October 2003

Timbuktu: Sages, camel trains and sand dunes

The desert city of Timbuktu, where French President Jacques Chirac arrives on Friday during a visit to West Africa, has been a synonym for romance and exoticism for generations. The 17th-century chronicler and historian Abderahman Saadi called the oasis on the edge of the Sahara desert ”exquisite, pure, delicious, illustrious, a blessed city, fertile and lovely”.