Explore a different destination UNESCO World Heritage Site M'Zab Valley, Algeria






M'Zab Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Algeria. Inscribed in 1982, the M'zab is a limestone plateau in the northern Sahara. M'zab is famous for its traditional abodes built by the Ibadite people in the 10th century. There are five walled villages called ksour at Wad Mzab which are suited to the environment while ideal for the family structure. The well preserved abodes supported by the intact customs and lifestyle of the people was the reason that M'Zab Valley was inscribed as a World Heritage Site during the 6th session of the World Heritage Committee, which met on 13-17 December, 1982 in Paris.

The villages of M'Zab Valley do not stay within their dwellings throughout the year. During summer, they migrate to "summer citadels" around palm grove oases. These oases are within the Sahara Desert and are surrounded by an arid country known as chebka.

The nature of the Ibadite society has helped to preserve their customs and social life. A council made up of representative from the seven walled villages decide on religious, social and cultural matters.

What to See in M'Zab Valley

The five walled villages, or ksour, are the highlight of M'Zab Valley. The villages are called Tagherdayt, Beni Isguen, Melika, Bounoura and El-Ateuf. Two more villages, Berianne and El Guerara are two more recent settlement added to the group. Each walled village has its own mosque, built like a fortress, with its minaret double as watchtower. The residences are built in concentric circles around the mosque.

Location

M'zab is within the Ghardaïa province of Algeria, 600 km from Algiers.

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N32 28 59.988 E3 40 59.988
Inscription Year: 1982
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: II, III, V

Location Map


View M'zab Valley in a larger map

Getting there

M'Zab is located south of Laghouat. It is reachable by all-terrain vehicle on the Trans-Sahara Highway (N1). It may be best to arrange through a travel agent in Algiers.

Photos

M'Zab Ghardaia, Algeria
M'Zab Ghardaia, Algeria
Author: PhR61 (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Ghardaia, Algeria
Ghardaia, Algeria
Author: Taguelmoust (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Beni Isguen, Algeria
Beni Isguen, Algeria
Author: Michel-georges Bernard (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The mosque at El Ateuf, Algeria
The mosque at El Ateuf, Algeria
Author: Michel-georges Bernard (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Ghardaia, Algeria
Ghardaia, Algeria
Author: Michel-georges Bernard (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Cheikh Sidi Aissa Mausoleum, Algeria
Cheikh Sidi Aissa Mausoleum, Algeria
Author: Michel-georges Bernard (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)



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