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Ghardaia is a town and province located in eastern Algeria in the north of the Sahara desert. It is situated in the heart of the Mezab valley, which was carved out of a limestone plateau.
Ghardaia is mostly made up of original medieval architecture that has been preserved remarkably well. The city is actually a cluster of five settlements that are built on the five highest hills of the Mezab valley. Each hill top is crowned by a lone towering minaret and the buildings seem to span out from them in narrow concentric circles. The streets and houses seemed to be carved into the hillside in a way that makes them blend into the landscape. The architectural landscape is made up of simple plaster-covered mud brick dwellings, cubic in form, with narrow, thin openings, terraces, horizontal lines and vaulted passages. Ghardaia is a perfect example of how homes can be built without defacing the beauty of nature. The Mezab valley where in Ghardaia lies is part of an official World Heritage Site.

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Additional Photos by Ecmel Erlat (ecmel) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 109 W: 0 N: 184] (1447)
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