Description: Ghardaia, imbedded in the valley of the M'Zab wady* in the North of the Algerian Sahara, is the most significant of five oasis cities successively built starting in the early 11th century by M'Zabite Berbers (*wadys are rivers or torrents flowing at very irregular intervals).
Jointly given the name of "Pentapolis of M'Zab", the desert cities of Ghardaia, El Atteuf, Bounoura, Melinka, Beni Isguen are the main cultural and tourist attraction poles in Algeria, and masterpieces of architecture and town planning.
The way in which this rocky plateau (Hamada) has been turned into a totally man-made green oasis surrounded by splendid cities is an outstanding example of how even the Saharan desert can be rendered habitable by the control of urban development, careful water management and the re-use of resources.
Annexed by France in 1882, the M'Zab pentapolis was reverted to Algeria in 1962 and is on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1982.
This image of M'Zab Pentapolis was collected by Space Imaging's IKONOS satellite in February 2004.
Pic & Description taken from