Touggourt - Rich in History and Culture
The large city of Touggourt is situated in north-eastern Algeria in the Wadi Igharghar Valley. With a population of roughly 300,000 people, this is one of the biggest cities to be found in the Sahara. Built around an oasis, Touggourt's economy is based mainly on agriculture with dates being one of their biggest exports. Cereals, vegetables, carpets and cloth also play a large role in the economy. The good growth in the area also caters towards healthy livestock. While Touggourt is not the only oasis city in the Ouargla province, it is certainly one of the most profitable ones.
In its earlier days, the city of Touggourt was surrounded by a large moat that was eventually filled up by the French. The city also had its own sultanate dynasty, the "sultanate of Tuggurt", which was founded in 1414. Over the years the dynasty saw the rise of fourteen sultans until it was eventually abolished by the French colonial authorities in 1854. Today the city is mostly made of mud or clay-stone buildings and the streets are winding with a lot of overhead coverings to protect against the summer heat. It has a very authentic feel, but at the same time is an ever growing and developing Algerian city.
The surrounding area is very fertile and Touggourt has gained quite a reputation for the top quality dates that are grown here which for an integral part of Algerian cuisine. The large date groves are a popular attraction with many tourists. However, most tourists prefer to head to the fortress mosque with its sturdy architectural splendor. The mosque is home to the tombs of the Beni Djellab kings that rest together under a large dome. They are a place of religious pilgrimage for the locals and are quite fascinating to see. If you visit Touggourt, you will likely take the time to see these three attractions for yourself. Otherwise you may enjoy getting to know the people of the city who are very proud of their ancestral origins. Accommodation is easy to find and restaurants provide decent meals. Transport to the city is also relatively good as it has road, rail and even air access from many other urban centers in the country. Why not take the time to visit Touggourt next time you are in Algeria? You may be surprised at what you find!