The books and documents collected from pilgrims in the town, which was once a popular destination for pilgrimage groups en route to Mecca, have been transformed into the Chinguetti Desert Libraries in Mauritania.

Chinguetti, an ancient desert town situated on the western edge of the Sahara in Mauritania, houses thousands of years’ worth of Arabic manuscripts that have been preserved for generations.

The town, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage list, used to attract pilgrims on their way to Mecca, and the books and documents collected from these pilgrims eventually led to the establishment of several libraries over time.

While there were once up to 30 libraries, only a few have withstood the challenges posed by the desert sands, hot and windy weather, termites, and other desert pests.

Presently, the inhabitants of the region, known as the " Guardians of the Book" persist in caring for these exceptionally rare works and endeavor to pass them down to forthcoming generations. Abdullah Habott, a Mauritanian "Guardian of the Book" diligently safeguards his family's library, which encompasses a multitude of manuscripts, including the Holy Quran, hadith, and fiqh books. His unwavering commitment will ensure the preservation of these invaluable literary treasures for years to come.