Chinguetti City

Mauritania 400
Road to Chinguetti through Mauritanian Sahara
Photo by: John Spooner, Creative Commons

Chinguetti is a medieval trading centre located to the north of Mauritania. It was established in the 13th century as a trans-Saharan trade route. The city is well known for its scenic beauty, stunning architecture and ancient libraries. A major part of the city is abandoned as the sand from the desert invade the city.

The buildings and houses in the city are built of mud bricks and dry reddish stone. Most of the houses feature hand made doors that are taken from the acacia trees. Also these houses feature a courtyard and narrow streets that leads to the nearby central mosque.

The Chinguetti city was founded around 777, and in the 11th century it was the major trading route for the Berber tribes. The city prospered at the time of the Almoravids, who ruled here between 1040 and 1147. During this time a number of buildings were constructed that can be seen to the present day. The city was was deserted for two centuries, but in the 13th century the city once again prospered, a fort was constructed and it became a major trading center.

The Chinguetti city is also the main place for the pilgrims visiting Mecca. It is one of the major religious sites; in addition it is Islam’s seventh holiest city. The city features a number of historical and religious ruins which can be seen to the present days. For its historical and religious importance Chinguetti city was also included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The major sites in the city are

The Friday Mosque
The Friday Mosque was built in between 13th and 14th centuries. The minaret in the mosque is also the second oldest minaret in the Muslim world. This mosque is also considered as the national emblem of the Mauritania Islamic Republic.

French Foreign Legion Fortress
This fort was built in the 19th century for the foreign nationals who served jointly with the French Armed Forces.

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