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Gharda´a
Arabic: ghardāya





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Gharda´a

Ghardaia, Algeria.
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Ghardaia, Algeria.
Ghardaia, Algeria.

Ghardaia, Algeria.
ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

City in central Algeria with 120,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), situated in the M'zab Oasis at an elevation of 526 metres, along the seasonal river Wadi M'zab.
It is the capital of Ghara´a province with 340,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 86,105 km².
Gharda´a is a market town for the agriculture of the oasis. Tourism used to be of importance until 1992, when civil unrest drove foreign visitors away from Algeria.
Gharda´a has good road connections with other urban centres in Algeria. There is an airport 20 km southeast. Ouargla is 180 km east.
Even in modern times Gharda´a is a city dominated by its old fortifications and traditional quarters. The city consists of 3 walled sections. The hill-top mosque with its delicate minaret dominates the city. Houses are simple, but attractive in style, painted in either painted white or blue colours or left in unpainted brown.
Traditional lifestyles in Gharda´a are much better preserved than in most other large towns and cities. Most men wear baggy pants, and women wear white garments covering their whole body.

History
1048: Founded next to a cave claimed to have been used by the Daia, a holy Muslim woman. Gharda´a becomes the last of the 5 cities founded here by Ibadi refugees from Ouargla.




By Tore Kjeilen