Ghardaia Carpet Festival
The picturesque city of Ghardaia is located in the Gharadaia Province of Algeria and is situated approximately three hundred and seventy miles outside of Algiers. It is a historical city that was established in the eleventh century. Its structures and buildings have survived for centuries and the city has remained true to its ancient cultures and traditions, maintaining its uniqueness through urban planning; thus the Ghardaia Province was recognized in 1982 on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The city is surrounded by the Sahara Desert, the Wadi Mzab and the M’zab Valley. Locals in Ghardaia still practice traditional agricultural farming to earn a living. The city boasts an estimated sixty thousand palm trees, on which locals are dependant for dates. No trees are cut down in the city as locals believe they are living forms, so wood is only used for roofing and other crafts once a tree has died. This oasis has also been a popular trading post for centuries, with nomads and traders moving through the city. But there is one craft that the city is famous for, and that is carpet making.
They weave their unique carpets from goat hair and their patterns are geometric and simple, but absolute masterpieces. Generally the carpets are black and white, but with the annual Ghardaia Carpet Festival each year, it has become a contest amongst the best carpet weavers. Weavers from across Algeria attend the Ghardaia Festival each year to enter into competitions to find out who is the best weaver of the year and to display their great variety of carpets to the thousands of visitors who attend the festival each year.
Rugs and cloths of all sizes are available for purchase and make wonderful gifts and souvenirs to take home. The festival is filled with color and rhythm as Karkabou bands fill the air with music and dance, processions entertain the crowds and the fragrances of traditional meals lure hungry visitors. The Ghardaia Carpet Festival is one of the biggest events of the year and usually takes place during the month of March.