Sankoré Madrasah (also called the University of Sankoré, or Sankore Masjid) is one of three ancient centres of learning located in Timbuktu, Mali. It is believed to be established by Mansa Musa, who was the ruler of the Mali Empire.
In the mosques of Sankoré, Djinguereber and Sidi Yahya compose the University of Timbuktu. Madrasah means school/university in Arabic and also in other languages that have been influenced by Islam.
The University of Sankore has its roots in the Sankore Mosque which was founded in 989 AD. The Sankore University prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world, especially under the reign of Mansa Musa (1307–1332) and the Askia Dynasty (1493–1591).
The University of Timbuktu attracted students/learners from West, East, North Africa, The Middle-East and Europe. It became the largest University at that time and, and one of the oldest University in the world still standing today.
By the end of Mansa Musa’s reign (early 14th century CE), the Sankoré Masjid had been converted into a fully staffed Madrassa (Islamic school or in this case university) with the largest collections of books in Africa since the Library of Alexandria.
The city of Timbuktu still standing today is homed to around 700,000- 1 million manuscripts many of them scattered across libraries in Mali and the rest of the world.