Masons at work in Timbuktu for the final reconstruction phase of the mausoleums

Following the launch of the first reconstruction sites in March 2014, the Malian Ministry of Culture, Handicrafts and Tourism and the UNESCO office in Bamako organized a tour of new mausoleum worksites currently underway in Timbuktu on Tuesday, February 24, with the masons and technical teams in charge of rebuilding these world heritage assets.

As part of the project for the rehabilitation of damaged cultural heritage in northern Mali,  the visit was undertaken with the logistical support of MINUSMA and held under the auspices of Mrs. N’Diaye Ramatoulaye Diallo, the Malian minister of Culture, Handicrafts and Tourism. Among official guests, representatives of the project’s financial partners were also present, including the Country Director of the SDC Cooperation Office in Mali, Mrs. Béatrice Meyer and the head of cooperation for the European Union in Mali, Mrs. Cécile Tassin-Pelzer.

During this visit, which took place at the Cemetery of the Three Saints, home to 3 destroyed mausoleums, the architects in charge of supervising the building sites presented the technical file, including details of the architectural design, technical requirements and the strategy for worksite organization. This file will allow masons to carry out their work properly. In addition, it will ensure the use of traditional building techniques, the preservation of world heritage status as well as maintain the mausoleums' cultural significance with local communities. Led by the Imam of the Djingareyber Grand Mosque, the delegation also visited the « Al-Imam Essayouti » library. Damaged by the terrorist attack of September 28, 2013, its restoration was just completed thanks to the financial support of MINUSMA, through its Quick Impact Project (QIP).

Ahead of this visit in Timbuktu, the first meeting of the steering committee of the Rehabilitation of cultural heritage and safeguarding of ancient manuscripts program was held in Bamako on February 23, under the chairmanship of the minister of Culture, Handicrafts and Tourism. Committee members were able to discuss progress made and plan the activities for 2015. The timetable, presented at the meeting, estimates that all the mausoleums will be rebuilt before the end of July 2015.

As a reminder, armed groups inflicted significant damage to Timbuktu’s cultural heritage in 2012 and 2013, including 14 out of the 16 world heritage mausoleums that were destroyed.