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Laghoaut, Algeria

Laghoaut, Algeria

City and oasis in north-central Algeria with 120,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), south of the Saharan Atlas Mountains, along the seasonal river Wadi Mzi, at an elevation of 752 metres.
It is the capital of Laghouat province with 350,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 25,057 km².
The cornerstone of Laghouat's economy is irrigated agriculture, producing mainly dates, fruits, vegetables and cereals. Laghouat's handicraft is of high quality and specialized in woven wall hangings and knotted woolen carpets.
Although distances are huge, Laghouat is well-connected to other urban centres of Algeria by road. Bou-Saada is 230 km northeast, Gharda´a 200 km south and Tiaret 260 km northwest.
Laghouat is divided into an old and a modern section. The old one is built according to the charming Saharan oasis style of simple houses without windows and narrow, winding streets. The modern section has some French buildings but mostly Algerian ones. The cathedral of the Bishop of Sahara lies in the old section.

11th century: The oasis was settled by Bani Hilal invaders.
— At some time in history, the oasis was divided into two parts, one belonging to the Ouled Serrine tribe and the other to the Hallaf tribe.
1852: Conquered by the French, who also unites the oasis.

By Tore Kjeilen