The M’zab region, in the extreme north of the Sahara desert, preserves the ancient traditions of the Mozabite Berber population and the Ibadi community, belonging to an Islamic religious current which represents a “third way” between Sunnis and Shiites.
Settling in the M’zab Valley in the 11th century, the Ibadi built five cities: Beni Isguen, the holy city, Melika, ‘the queen’, Bou Noura ‘the luminous’, El Atteuf ‘the decana’ and Ghardaia, who is certainly the most representative gem of this extraordinary pentapolis that, according to urban planners, represents the perfect cultural synthesis of this austere and pure people. Every constructive element of these “fortress cities”, erected within large walls and with a beehive structure dotted with pyramidal mosques, reflects the traditional social organization, whose government is still entrusted to spiritual leaders who watch over the rigor of customs and the righteousness of the population.
The Ibadi pentapolis of Ghardaia, with its oases, its markets and its “pyramid” mosques.
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