Mali: children of kings
Mali is one of those countries that are not very well known to Russian tourists. Even sophisticated travelers do not know much about her.
In the Middle Ages, this country was famous in the East and in Europe for its extraordinary wealth, the generosity of its rulers and the friendliness of the common people. One Arab traveler even wrote that the “Country of Blacks” is so rich because gold grows there directly on the trees.
Today, Mali cannot boast of its former splendor, but its inhabitants have retained all the best features of their ancestors and can rightfully be called the “children of kings.”
A friendly disposition is not the only thing that the Malian people have inherited from their forefathers. We are talking about beautiful examples of architecture.
Four Malian attractions are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Firstly, it is the ancient city of Timbuktu, located in the north of the country. It was once the center of intersection of numerous trade routes linking the East with Black Africa. Trade was briskly conducted in the city; the main currencies at that time were gold and salt. The universities of Timbuktu worked the most prominent scientists of the Muslim world.
The second attraction on a global scale is the mosque of the city of Jenna. The huge building, about eighty meters long and about twenty meters high, is entirely made of clay. During Muslim holidays, the mosque can hold up to thousands of worshipers at a time.
The third attraction is the tomb of the royal Askiev dynasty in the city of Gao, a wonderful monument of Sudanese architecture.
Mali, Dogon And, finally, the fourth is a mysterious mountainous country of Dogon. The Dogons are far from being the most numerous people in Mali, but perhaps one of the most famous. According to an ancient legend, their ancestor descended to the earth from the star Sirius. True or fiction, it still remains a mystery how the mountaineers became aware of a star that European scientists could only find in the 19th century. In the country of catch-up, tourists are attracted not only by the exotic of everyday life of the people and not only by unusual architecture. Recently, climbers have fallen in love with this region. The mountains there are not high, but they can challenge even an experienced climber.
The territory of Mali is quite extensive – 1,240,000 km² (about twice as much as France). It is divided into several climatic zones. In the north of the country are the sands of the Sahara desert. The savannah occupies the south. Between them stretched the so-called Sahel (from Arabic: “shore”), where semi-deserts prevailed. Such climate diversity creates excellent opportunities for ecotourism in Mali. Sahara tours are becoming increasingly popular, not to mention traditional safaris.
The Senegal and Niger rivers, one of the largest waterways of the African continent, flow through the country. These rivers are navigable, so you can easily travel along them – just buy a ticket for the ferry. At the same time, water tourism in Mali is successfully combined with cultural tourism – after all, the most ancient cities of this country are located mainly along river banks.
In large cities of the country they understand French. However, if you decide to climb into the Malian outback, then you can not do without an interpreter. “Children of the Kings” speak a couple of dozens of different languages. The most common of them is bamana (bambara). Once in Mali, try to learn a few phrases in this language – in the eyes of local people you will gain a reputation as a great linguist and (which is much more valuable) provide yourself discounts on trade.
Upon entry to Mali, yellow fever vaccination certificate must be presented. However, there is another disease that is worth remembering when traveling to Mali. This disease is Africa itself. After all, a visitor there is drawn there again and again.