Sunday, August 19, 2007

The M'zab

The M'Zab is a district in the south of Algeria, 600 km south from Algiers, with strong peculiarities. It includes 7 oasis. Five are very close to one another and constitute a cluster of five settlements, a pentapolis, as it is often called, perched atop hills dominating the sinuous M'zab valley. This area is sometimes qualified as the "chebka of the M'zab". "Chebka" means web and refers to the network of small and larger ouadi/wadi (plural for oued/wad", dry river bed) that cuts the plateau.
The pentapolis includes :
Ghardaïa, named Tagherdayt in Berber, which means the small oasis. It was founded in 1048.
Mélika, the Queen, named Atemlichet in Berber, founded in 1350. It is a Holy city with the tomb of Sidi Aïssa and his family.
Béni Isguen, the Holy, named At Isgen in Berber, founded in 1347.
Bou Noura, the Shining, named At Bounour in Berber, founded in 1046
El Ateuf, named Tajnint, founded in 1012, is the oldest city of the Mzab.
Beriane, Named Ait Iberguen in Berber, founded in 1690 is 39 km north to the pentapolis.
Guerrara, named Iguraren in Berber, founded in 1631, 16 75 km north east to the pentapolis.
The M'Zab is a part of the Wilaya of Ghardaïa, which includes other districts. Metlili Chaamba, 38 km south to Ghardaïa is a city inhabited by the Chaambas, Sunnite Moslem of Arab origin who have long been the enemies of the inhabitants of the M'Zab, Kharedjite Moslem of Berber origin.
The Mzab Valley was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, as an intact example of traditional human habitat perfectly adapted to its environment.
Wilaya de Ghardaia Pages by JLBG

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