Timbuktu (also known as Tombouctou) is a city located near the Niger River in the African country of Mali. Timbuktu has a population of approximately 30,000 and is a major Saharan Desert trading post. It is historically important as a trading post on the trans-Saharan caravan route and as a centre of Islamic culture. The city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. In 2012, in response to armed conflict in the region, Timbuktu was added to the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger.