The Sahara wasn’t always a desert — 7,000 years ago it was a savannah where grasslands and animals thrived. Eventually the weather changed; the rain slowed, then stopped, and the desert took over.
When Michal Huniewicz was getting ready to visit Mauritania, he found an old book on West Africa, and within the pages he found something that caught his eye: The Forgotten Libraries of the Sahara, part of a town, Chinguetti, that was a 17th-century hub.
“What could be more romantic?” asked Huniewicz. When Michael arrived, he found what felt like a ghost town, though 4,000 people live there, and there are librarians who will still show you the old books housed in the libraries.
See these ancient and forgotten treasures that lie in the middle of the African Sahara and the unique history they reveal.