Tradition and Culture in El Atteuf and Beni Isguen, Algeria

Algeria is a vast country with lots of hidden historical sites that are great to explore. Some of these incredible places are El Atteuf and Beni Isguen.

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El Atteuf is located 500 kilometres south of Algiers at the shores of the Wadi Mzam River. It is one of the four cities marking the M’Zab Pentapolis. The city is an architectural wonder and a masterpiece of town planning.. El Atteuf consists of brightly painted buildings clustered around the mosque that is the highest point in the city. The El Atteuf mosque is the central feature of the city with the minaret serving as a watchtower. The houses are built on a slope to avoid potential floods and are situated in a sort of concentric circles. This type of architecture has inspired architects for years with their houses built next to the other without breaching the established privacy boundaries.
A must see when in the city is the city mosque and the federal council- Majlis Ammi Said. The area has great historical, religious, and cultural significance. This is why it has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Beni Isguen is a beautiful city located 600 kilometres south of Algiers. It is a fortified oasis inhibited by a small community of shop keepers and farmers. It is also an important religious city that has managed to preserve its authenticity and resist modernization. You are required to have a guide who is authorized to take you inside the city. There is a strict dress code for visitors and no photos are allowed. There is are no accommodation options and you are required to leave by nightfall. It is amazing to be able to enter this secluded community and catch a glimpse of some of the fine arts that are produced inside the oasis walls – detailed pottery pieces, beautifully woven carpets, jewelry and brass ware. The most remarkable site is the mosque that serves as a watchtower. The city is a maze of corridors and wonderful hidden sites that deserve the effort to be seen.

About the author

Joshua Mok has been living in Tunisia since 2016. He has traveled extensively throughout the country, and has firsthand experience with the language, people, and culture of North Africa. It is his passion to introduce to others some of the best destinations in North Africa that he has experienced.

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