M’zab Valley, Algeria
Literary an oasis in the middle of the desert, M’zab Valley astonished every man who passes though the wonderful Sahara. The region is located in the southern Ghardaia- province of Algeria and it is structured on 3000 wells that support 5 important cities: Beni Isguen, Melika, Bou Noura, El Ateuf, and Ghardaia, the principal city today.
The region dates back from the 11th century and it is a perfect example of how man and nature can coexist perfectly. The architecture is really unique and in harmonious fitting with the surroundings, characterized by curving walls, lack of ornaments and simple structures.
The population that built the cities was the M’zabites, a puritan group of people who conducted their life with high respect for family life and a general egalitarian based society. Their way of living can be seen in the structure of their cities, each city contains the mosque , the school, a common market, neighborhoods and the fortifications. The house was formed around an open courtyard in order to respect the family’s privacy.
Since 1982 M’zab Valley became an UNESCO World Heritage Centre for it’s outstanding arhitecture that represents a perfect balance of functionality, simplicity and love for the enviroment.