Ghardaia, غرداية Ghardaya, DMG Ġardāya, also Ghardaia, is an oasis city in Algeria, and the capital and administrative center of the homonymous province ( wilaya Ġardāya ). The town lies in the valley of M'zab in the north-central Sahara to 526 m height, is a member of Ghardaia, and together with the southeastern cities of Beni Isguen, Melika, Bou Noura ( Has Bunur ) and El Atteuf ( Tadjnint ) the Pentapolis of M'zab.

Together with the other oases of M'Zab Valley is Ghardaia because of his exemplary urban design since 1982 on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Origin of the name

The name comes from Ghardaia a saint named Daia, who lived in a cave ( Ghār ) in the area. Later there built charidschitische Muslims who fled from persecution by orthodox Muslims in the north, a city.


The capital of Mzab Valley was founded in the 11th century by Kharijite Muslims and has since remained largely unchanged. Ghardaia is a fortified city, which consists of three walled sectors with labyrinthine streets. In the center is the historical Mozabitengebiet with a mosque in the pyramid style and a lined with arcades and main market square. The striking white, pink and red houses with their terraces and arcades are built of sand, clay and plaster and designed with courtyards so that the sunlight can flood in all rooms. In her book " La force des choses " 1963 Simone de Beauvoir described Ghardaia as a beautifully constructed Cubist painting.

Geography and climate

The hill towns of the Pentapolis lie in the north-central Algeria in the Sahara Desert, along the west bank of the normally dry Wadi Mzab. The community Ghardaia covers an area of 590 km ², which in addition to the Pentapolis of ancient Ksar of Metlili - Chaamba (42 km southwest) and outside the Mzab Tales Berriane ( Has Ibergane, 45 km north) and Guerrara ( Iguerraren, 110 km north-east ). include

The region's climate is characterized by strong day and night and summer and winter temperature between 0 ° C and 46 ° C. The summer winds are hot and strong while the winter winds are cold and damp. Sandstorms there is usually from March to May In October 2008, Ghardaia was hit by a heavy rain caused by floods.


The municipality has 104 645 inhabitants and the Pentapolis 82,500 ( 2005). The population is composed to a large extent from Mozabiten who own a Berber language, Mzab - Wargla speak. An important aspect of social life and the values ​​of the people in the region is that there is no begging or theft. The Mozabiten have close ties to the community, which determines all economic and social affairs. Everyone has the birthright, that it makes the community for education, work, marriage and a house. For the construction the Community Volunteer groups organized ( Touiza ).

Water supply

The thousand year old water supply system was built by the Mozabiten taking advantage of the rare occurrence of water in the rivers ( oueds ). Due to the scarcity of this natural resource the Mozabiten developed a unique irrigation system with tunnels to collect rain water and divert it to the oases. It allows an equitable water distribution to all gardens, while offering a good flood protection. The water supply is ensured by a sophisticated irrigation system with many fountains. The drilling of wells are 110-150 m deep and are fed by continental groundwater basins of the Albian strata.


Ghardaia is a center of the date ( 60,000 palm trees ), carpet and blanket production and an important Algerian trade center with its own airport. In the south of the city of oil and natural gas is promoted. It has bilingual vocational schools with compulsory French, a Glasmanufakur and a steel tube factory.


Presentation of the Berber cavalry at the wedding

Market in the main square (1970 )

Light-filled courtyards in Beni Isguen, the holy city of Mozabiten

Ghardaia - Market on the Old Hill (1986 )