Being one of the most varied hub for cultural & Civilizational exchange and influence in the region, Mauritania is favourably situated between the Maghreb Arab and Black Africa; two poles that admirably embody the immensity of the great Sahara desert on one side and the exoticism of the vast Sahal.
Nestled on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, along a beautiful coast 750 kilometres long, Mauritania is lined to the south-west by the Senegal River.
Characterised by warm temperatures and a record level of sunshine throughout the year, Mauritania offers a mild climate during a large part of the year (from November to July). The ocean with its endless sandy beaches, embraces wonderful bays and lagoons. It is in this background between ocean, sand and sunshine that you can discover one of the most fascinating marvels: the Banc d’Arguin and the cap Blanc.
With a history that stretches over a millennium, a few cities in the middles of the desert and a famous archaeological sites lies nowadays a priceless treasures for visitors.
The ancient cities
Founded between the 9th and 13th centuries, the cities of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata were mainly developed through the Saharan trade roads and strengthened later with the Muslim conquest, abandoned by the caravan and invaded by the sand, they have been deserted by some of their inhabitants fleeing drought. These cities, once famous and coveted, have now lost much of their luster. If they present a spectacle of ruined cities, they are still the last vestiges of the glorious past of Mauritania.
Classified by the UNESCO ”World heritage of Humanity” in 1996 and known as the ”Ancient cities.
Mauritania is rich in prehistoric sites dating from the Paleolithic and Neolithic evidenced by the presence of numerous tools: cut stone, punch, arrows, axes, … Archaeological remains of medieval cities that are full with drawings representing the wildlife of the time: giraffes, elephants, rhinos and other animals in herds … and scenes of everyday life: hunting, ceremonies … rock paintings and engravings are found mainly in pads of DharAdrar, Tagant, and Hodh. Entire areas are still unknown. Although research has revealed numerous deposits dating from the two arcs in the regions of Adrar and the TirisZemmour, Tagant and Dhar lights – Oualata, for example, most scientists wonder of the possibilities of discovery.
The regions of Adrar, Tithitt and the coast of Mauritania also include the remains of a human presence across the relatively advanced ceramics, rock carvings and monuments. Finally, the regions of Tagdaoust and KumbiSaleh that housed the remaing cities of the former Empire of Ghana are the biggest medieval sites in Mauritanians. Besides these two sites there is the city of AlmoravidAzougui.
Located in the Hodh EI Gharbi, the site of Tegdaoust (or also Aoudaghost) demonstrates several levels of urban settlement, spread between the 8th and 18th centuries, with a maximum period of expansion in the 10th century.
Still in the wilaya of Hodh El Gharbi, there is the famous city of KumbiSaleh, considered the capital of the ancient Empire of Ghana that appeared in the 4th century.
Later, the site of Azougui is theAlmoravid city with two first levels of occupation have been dated between the 10th and 12th Centuries. The excavations have also revealed the existence of trade with the Maghreb region.