Ghardaia Travel Guide

  • Ghardaia
    by tafa2009
  • Ghardaia
    by tafa2009
  • Ghardaia
    by tafa2009

Ghardaia Things to Do

  • Melika

    Melika is worth a visit, despite not as well known as Ghardaia or Beni Isguen. For the one who visits for the first time, all cities look alike, but after some time, one can see the differences in architecture or people behaviour.

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  • Beni Isguen

    In Beni Isguen the strange fortifications isolating the city from the desert do not look as a real military construction. Only near the main city doors do the wall look like real walls. In beniIsguen the foreigner are not allowed to stay during the night, except they have guests.

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  • La prefecture

    The Wilaya (the residence of the wali), the prefecture; this is the main administrative building in Ghardaia; it is on the squared market place; on this place, the movie maker M. Lakhdar Amina directed a scene of massacre of Algerian by French troops for his movie “Chronique des annees de braise” , Palme d’or in Cannes , 1975.It is now again a...

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  • Sidi Brahim mosque

    Again this mosquee, with the inclined pillars, the windows, the ceilings made of palm tree trunks. You could stay there for hours, specially when it is so hot outside; may be the architect wanted people to stay inside as much as possible.

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  • The pillars of the mosquee (pillars of...

    It is not an effect of alcohol on the photographer, the pilars are inclined, as the whole building seems, if you look at small parts one after the other; but as a whole, the Sidi Brahim mosquee is a solid building. And inside, it is cool enough to concentrate on prayer rather than being disturbed by heat and sweat. Of all the mosquees I visited in...

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  • The Sidi Brahim Mosquee

    It is sais this tiny old mosquee inspired Le Corbusier (French Architect) for building a well known modern church in France (Ronchamp) . Indeed, the shape, the rigorous style, the beautiful design , are stunning here in this environment.This mosquee has been build in the 11th century, and it contains relmains of Sidi brahim, a muslimscholar of El...

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  • View of El Ateuf and the cemetery.

    In the Mzab, the cemeteries are ouside the cities. The old cemeteries are not maintained and only grave plates and some pottery remain ; the cemetery looks like a field where the rocks grow in anarchic pattern. The place is very hot and there are no flowers on the graves (water is too precious) ; muslim usually decorate parcimoniously their...

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  • The streets of El Ateuf

    The streets here, like in Ghardaia are narrow, but more steep. Children play in the streets and the colors are always so pastel.It looks, like in many North African cities that electricity and telephone were installed without clear plan, but, at least it seems to work and does not bother the children who play.

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  • The walls of the mosquee

    The Mosquee of Ghardaia is surrounded by a corridor of arches; this is a typical Mozabite architectural element; nowadays, people still go for praying in the mosquee which has been renovated several times since its construction, but always keping the original style (if not the material, some concrete bricks are used now).

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  • Dates ( fruits! not a date with a new ...

    Fresh dates are succulent. If the season is right and you have some space in your luggage, it is worth to take home (for those who do not have agricultural or health restrictions at the customs); if you cannot tke home, eart as muvh as posible, fresh dates taste unbelievabely better than packed dates.

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  • The palm orchards

    The Oued (wadi) Mzab carries water at surface during a few hours a year, and underground in an alluvial reservoir; this water is pumped and used for watering the gardens and orchards belonging to the different Mzab cities; the orchards are generally belonging to communities who exploit and maintain them; during summer (there is a difference between...

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  • Look with one eye.

    I do not like to take pictures of people without asking or explicitely showing what I am doing; the women here are an exception, I took the pics without asking: look, you make pics with the camera closing one eye (specially the old cameras), imagine you are the whole day with one closed eye. The women in Mzab (and other places in northern Sahara),...

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  • Look at the gardens, they look cool!

    The garden outside the city look cool fresh; when there is some space left and some water nearby, the mozabites grow ficus trees for some shadow and palmtrees for the dates and because they have a majestuous look. Here, it is a small garden within the city or very close. Mozabites also run big palm orchards outside the city (the will be another...

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  • The covered streets

    In fact only the tourists walk in the open streets at noon! Better to have a walk in the covered streets, the temperature there is rather cool (everything is reletive), and the contrast between dark covered streets and the bright open streets is stunning; are the carpets here the end of the street, a private area?

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  • Few people in the streets

    Generally there are few people in the streets around noon; only tourists and some children dare to go out at that time; here again the streets are not unicolored . You can wlk and walk for hours climbing up and down the streets and stairs, get lost in that labyrinthic casbah, but you always have something new to see, and even you walk 2 or 3 times...

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  • Stay on the good side!

    Stay on the right side of the streets (or the left , depends your direction), It can be quite hot: look at the children whare they pay, and at noon there is not a lot of shadow; and the man in the background is walking on the good side aswell . The houses have different colors, but the windows and doors are blue!

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  • The streets are quiet

    The streets are quiet in the Mozabite cities around noon; you can walk for kilometers, on flat or staired streets, you will meet only a few children playing or looking at the foreigner; of course it’s hot at noon, but there is always a small breeze; some houses are blue, but most of them have at least their door and windows painted in blue; people...

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  • Walk in the streets

    Walk in the streets and look at the doors, they are not very spectacular, but very many display the hand of Fatima; the hand of Fatima is venerated in many muslim communities , supposed to drive away unluck and misfortune; many Algerian have pictures or artifacts representing fatima’s hand in their houses; Islam does not permit idolatry, but...

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Ghardaia Restaurants

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo

    by kokoryko Written Feb 17, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Despite being a relatively big city there are not a lot of restaurants in Ghardaia, and these are mainly of “popular” class. But the important is the quality of food and the conviviality of guests; shorba and couscous are the popular dishes here, and a green tea after lunchis delicious. There are no women in the restaurants, but foreigner women are admitted in popular restaurants.

    Favorite Dish: couscous !

    one among a lot !
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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Ghardaia Transportation

  • Get there by car

    The best to get to Ghardaia is by car, hired, or own car.Drive from Algiers across the Atlas and the High Plateau, and after Biskra you begin to drive in the true Desert. When arriving at Ghardaia, you feel the stunning difference between a rock-desert and a green lush oasis. From far, the oasis look like a paradise after the desert hell.

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  • Another transport mean

    the poor onkeys can carry everything, even tourist, and their weight is not . . . virtual!The donkey is still there. This is an important transportation mean like in most North Africa. I would like to have such an animal not eating up the juicy vegetables I load on his back!

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  • The Mobylette

    It is not a tourist transportation mean, it is a transportation mean in general !The Mobylette, a small motorbike is a very popular transport mean in the M’zab (and rural Algeria in general), for goods and persons. Some have even modified saddles (here, a blue blanket, like a saddle on a camel!), and replace the horse carriages which are...

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Ghardaia Local Customs

  • Water

    Water wells can be found within the cities; their design is the same as the ones from the oasis. During the cooler hours of the day people gather around the well , have a chat and wait their turn to fetch water from the well.

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  • A rest with the elderly

    The older people do not go shopping in the hot sun; they have a caht in the shadow of the buidings or the umbrellas; no stress, no hurry, take life as it comes.

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  • Berbere carpets

    The carpets seen here on the market are typical berberic carpets; there are two types: one colored generally with a red dominant and geometrical patterns; the other type has a white background and brown or black patterns (this last one is from Kabylie, a mountain area of northern Algeria, and kabyles are berbers loke the Mozabites and do not want...

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Ghardaia Off The Beaten Path

  • Desert ?

    The desert is not that desertic in the Mzab; walking far from the oasis you still find vegetation like these tamaris trees, offering some shadow to the people and their animals . I like to walk even during the hot hours to see things I would not se in other circumstances.

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  • Surprise!

    The walks in the oasis lead you to some surprises, like this barley field (I do not think they brew beer in the M’zab; it is barley, not wheat or hard wheat used for couscous). The surprise too is to meet local guys who invite you for a tea. Tea here was made with camel milk, a local delice, better than the usual tea made with water; not bad in...

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  • Have a walk in the oasis

    I loved to walk in the oasis near the cities; Very quickly, you hear only the wind in the palm trees, and your eyes are open for everything, like here, this old water well; water is still pumped from this well, to grow the palm trees and other crops ; I love these old remains of human creativity.

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