Timbuktu mausoleums restored years after from destruction by Islamic extremists

The director general of the U.N.'s cultural body and Mali's cultural minister have inaugurated 14 reconstructed mausoleums in Timbuktu that had been destroyed by Islamic extremists.

Islamic radicals who overran Timbuktu in 2012 destroyed the one-room structures that housed the tombs of the city's great thinkers.

The destroyed mausoleums were left as heaps of mud, reminders of the brutal rule of the jihadis, who imposed a harsh version of Islamic law on the fabled city before being driven out by a French military intervention.

UNESCO said Saturday the reconstruction of the mausoleums took more than a year and cost $500,000. The project is part of several restorations in the desert city being carried out by UNESCO.

The entire city of Timbuktu is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.