|Location:||600km south of Algier.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Ghardaïa [gArdAyA'] is the capital of the tribe of the Mozabites, and has a population of about 110,000. The Mozabites (Mzabites, M'zabites) are a sect, living in the Wadi Mzab, a stony, barren valley in the north of the Sahara. This city was founded in the 11th century by Muslim Kharijite sectaries fleeing persecution by the orthodox Muslims of the north. The Mozabites dug more than 4,000 wells, created date-palm oases, and built five towns, which are united in a confederation. Ghardaïa is the biggest city, and popular stop for Sahara tourists. Beni Isguen is the holy city of the five and not allowed for foreigners.
Ghardaïa was built around a cave reputedly inhabited by the female Saint Daïa, hence the name Ghar Daïa, cave of Daïa. The cave is still venerated by Mozabite women.