Wilaya de Ghardaia Things to Do

  • Berriane
    Berriane
    by JLBG
  • kids in the street
    kids in the street
    by kokoryko
  • Fatimah's hand
    Fatimah's hand
    by kokoryko

Wilaya de Ghardaia Things to Do

  • Berriane

    Berriane, named Ait Iberguen in Berber, was founded in 1690. It is 39 km north to the pentapolis. It has much less character than the cities of the pentapolis but when you drive from Algiers, which is usually the case, unless you have driven across the Sahara, it is the fist city of the M'Zab that you encounter.The cemetery appears in the...

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  • Bounoura

    As well as in Melika, the first houses act as a city wall. In Bounoura, they have been built directly on the rocks and boulder that make the bank of oued M'zab. This gives a special look at Bounoura and in some ways, these tall houses remind of Yemen.

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  • Beni Isguen, do not enter alone!

    No foreigner is allowed into the city without being accompanied by a citizen. No foreigner can spend the night in the city. The city gate used to be closed at dusk, after the muezzin had called for foreigners to go out of the city. This is not true anymore and the gates remain open all night long but nevertheless, the ban of foreigners remains.Note...

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  • Beni Isguen, Holy city

    As Beni Isguen is Holy city, you will find at the gate of the city a poster that shows how you must be clothed to be allowed to come in : no short, no dog, no photo (in many places, not everywhere)legs and arms covered.These are about the requirements to be allowed into any religious place.

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  • The M'zab

    The first photo shows the view that you get when you are on the road from Algiers to El Goléa. In the foreground, the Holy city of Beni Isguen. On the right, in the background Melika, another Holy city. In the center, in the background, the palm grove of Beni Isguen, then Ghardaïa, and even farther in the background, the palm grove of Ghardaïa.The...

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  • Cemetaries in the M'Zab

    If you enlarge the first photo, you might wonder what is this landscape with scattered tuft and stones. The stones do not look "natural" as most are standing. This is actually a Mozabite cemetery. It should be the cemetery of Ghardaïa. Each standing stone corresponds to a grave.The second photo represents another cemetery in the M'Zab, which should...

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  • Bounoura, built in 1046

    Bou Noura La Lumineuse (the Shining), is called At Bounour in Berber. It was founded in 1046 and is the second oldest city of the M'Zab after El Ateuf. It stands on a gentle hill, not so steep as Beni Isguen or Melika, on the other side of Oued M'Zab.

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  • Melika, the cemetery

    The main feature to visit in Melika is the cemetery. As can be seen on the photo, the mosque of the cemetery is a digest of the typical architecture of the M'Zab: no straight lines, no plane surfaces, only smooth curves. This is an architecture of harmony.Melika is no more but has been a Holly city as its cemetery hosts the tomb of Sidi Aïssa and...

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  • Melika stands on a promontory

    Melika stands on a promontory and can be seen from different sides. As every city in the M'zab, it has a minaret and a watchtower. The minaret has the same style than in Beni Isguen but the watchtower seems to have been repaired recently and has not the same look the in Beni Isguen.

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  • Melika

    Mélika, the Queen, named Atemlichet in Berber, was founded in 1350. It has not kept a real a city wall as Beni Isguen but the houses built at the periphery of the city act almost as a city wall as can be seen on the photos.

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  • House in the Palmeraie of Beni Isguen

    Wealthy citizens of Beni Isguen own a second house, in the Palmeraie. This is their Summer house, where they live when it is too hot in the city. At the Tourist office of Ghardaïa, you can rent a Palmeraie house for one or several nights. We did it once and this is a must. The photos show the inner yard. The inside (sorry no photos) is whitewashed,...

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  • Beni Isguen, the dam

    In the Palmeraie (Palm grove) of Beni Isguen, the barrage (dam) is famous. It is not straight but was built in a sinuous design, centuries ago. It has been shown that this was the shape that was the strongest to resist to the weight of the water, when there is a flood. When there are heavy rains, water will flow on top of the barrage but a great...

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  • M'Zab traditional water system

    The whole M'Zab is crisscrossed by a network of "foggara". They are subterranean galleries that, in some places, can be 30 or 40 meters underneath the soil surface. They have a gentle slope of a few millimeters per meter and collect subterranean water. Smaller foggara allow only to crawl. They feed larger foggaras. The largest, such as the one...

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  • Beni Isguen, the minaret from underneath

    The minaret is even more impressive when you climb the narrow passages from the lowest part of the city. Notice that the terrace of each house has water exhausts flowing over the middle of the passage. Spring rains can be abundant and might ruin the terraces.

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  • Beni Isguen, the minaret from the watch...

    The minaret of the mosque stands almost in the center of the city. It has the characteristic shape of a M'zab mosque: a kind of very steep pyramid without any opening except near the summit. On top, four pinnacles, one at each corner.

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  • Beni Isguen, view from the watch tower

    From the watchtower, the view on the old city is stunning. You can see that all houses are built around an inner yard, acting like a "light well". The Mozabite architecture has inspired the famous architect Le Corbusier. Especially in the Ronchamps chapel (near Lyon), the influence of Mozabite architecture is strong.On the second photo, in the...

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  • Beni Isguen, the watch tower

    The watch tower of Beni Isguen (Tafilelt tower) stands at the highest corner of the city wall. The legend says that it was build in one night by angels. It is made with a core of stones, sun dried bricks coated with a thick layer of lime mortar. Houses are generally whitewashed but the Tafilalt tower has only a strip on white to outline the top but...

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  • Beni Isguen, covered alleys

    Then, if you want to visit Beni Isguen, you must go to the Tourist Office in Ghardaïa and hire an official guide. You can see on the first photo our guide waiting after us.In the city, a lot of passages are covered alleys and if by extraordinary, you might have entered alone in the city, you would very soon get lost, not knowing where to go!

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  • Beni Isguen under a stormy sky

    All the photos of this page were taken in March or April of different years. The weather conditions and thus the colors of the city can be very different from on time to another. Though the dominating colors of the city are white and blue, the shade will vary.

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  • Beni Isguen under a blue sky

    The first photo shows the city Beni Isguen with its city wall. In Beni Isguen as in other cities in the M'zab, most houses are painted in white, a few in blue and there is very few other colors.The second photo is a panoramic view on the city, reconstructed out of two shots.

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  • Mosque of Bou Noura

    It's nice to walk around in the town of Bou Noura. Especially the area round the mosque is very peaceful and quiet.I liked the beautiful mud architecture of the mosque.

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  • Walk around in Bou Noura

    Also Bou Noura is one of the five towns of the M'Zab.The view at Bou Noura is very picturesque, because the houses in Bou Noura are built on rocks. You can see this very good from the outside.

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  • Beni Isguen

    Beni is the most important religious townof the M'Zab.You can visit the town ans climb to the turkish tower, Borj Boleila. The best to do this, is in the late afternoon.

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  • Ghardaïa market

    At the marketplace of Ghardaïa you can buy nearly everything, vegetables, fruits, spices, kitchen utensiles.It's like a place from history, only the mopeds are from now.

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  • Ghardaïa

    Ghardaïa is the the most important town of the five towns of the M'Zab. In Ghardaïa are a lot of shops and a nice lifely marketplace.The atmosphere is fascinating and gives you a feeling how life has been here for centuries.

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Wilaya de Ghardaia Things to Do

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