Chinguetti libraries in Mauritania hold valuable ancient manuscripts from the long gone heyday of the city, dating back to the century. This used to be a city of books and knowledge, where astronomy, medicine and rhetoric were taught.
The other handful of libraries still surviving in Chinguetti however are very much time capsules of the medieval era in which they were first built, storing the ancient books in simple cardboard binders on open shelving, vulnerable to the elements.
13th century- After 2 centuries of reliance, Chinguetti is re-founded as a fortified caravan trading center connecting the Mediterranean with Sub-Saharan Africa. Although the walls of the original fortification will disappear over the centuries, many of the buildings in the old section of the city will survive into the 21st century. The city will become seriously threatened, however, by the encroaching desert; high sand dunes will mark the western boundary.