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Touggourt, Algeria

City and oasis in northeastern Algeria with 140,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), in the Wadi Igharghar Valley, in Ouargla province.
The economy of Touggourt is based on agriculture where the main products are dates, cereals and vegetables. There is also livestock raising and the manufacture of carpets and woven cloth.
Touggourt is well-connected to other urban centres of Algeria with road and rail (terminus). Ouargla is 165 km southwest and El Oued 95 km northeast. There is also an airstrip 10 km southeast.
Touggourt is a charming Saharan town with buildings made from mud or clay-stone. Streets are winding and often covered to protect against summer heat. The main landmark is a fortress mosque and tombs of local kings which are placed together under a large dome.
The inhabitants of Touggourt preserve their tribal connections, and are divided into 3 groups: The Ouled Naïl, the Medjara who are Muslims with Jewish ancestry and Rouarha who are dark skinned Berbers.

By Tore Kjeilen