In the past, Chinguetti was not only a major trading post in the Sahara Desert, but a major stop on the pilgrimage path to Mecca. It is also considered the seventh holiest Muslim city in the world.

There are 5 ancient libraries in Chinguetti, but only one that regularly opens to the public and gives tours. There are thousands of books in the care of the families that built these desert libraries so long ago. Most of them are religious, but many cover subjects like astronomy and mathematics. Muslim scholars from every field are represented here.

Conservationists are concerned because the sands of the Sahara are slowly swallowing Chinguetti and the books are not necessarily being kept in optimal conditions in these private libraries, but organizations like UNESCO and various museums have also failed to come up with terms the library owners can be content with. Thus, the collections remain private and in Chinguetti.

The video here covers the first story the Curator of the Library told us. There are plenty more.

In fact, have a look at the entire Mauritania Series:

Part 1 – Shipwrecks to Camel Treks – from Immigration to Nouadhibou

Part 2 – Ben Amera and Aisha – Mauritania’s Monoliths of the Sahara

Part 3 – Camel Trekking in the Sahara Desert

Part 4 – Chinguetti’s Old Library and a Medical Emergency in the Middle of Nowhere

Or follow this link to see ALL of our posts and videos from Mauritania.


*On some of the links provided we might make a commission if you purchase something by clicking through our link. This creates no additional cost for you.

Team Hazard

Old, fat and disabled and traveling the world anyway. Join Trina and Tim as they wander around the planet bringing you honest stories about the people and places they encounter.

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