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>> PROJECT WALATA 

A rich cultural heritage
  Food, music, literature, art... it's not just the friendly nature of its inhabitants or the beauty of its countryside that make Walata unique. We are in a city of great cultural wealth. The archaeological remains in the area, the architectural, oral and literary heritage and even its food are all reasons why it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996.

Walata Library is one of the places we must visit if we want to get to know this city's exciting past, as it contains an important collection of manuscript documents giving complete information about Sahara society. This unique and unrepeatable spot is named after Talib Bu Bakar, a scholar of the Al-Amhayib tribe. Walata's traditions have been preserved in writing thanks to the painstaking work by this intellectual who died in 1917..

Another indispensable visit is the Walata Ethnographic Museum, whose rich and fascinating collection shows us different aspects of Walata's life and culture. In its galleries we enter into different spheres of daily life and can appreciate unique objects of great beauty. There is also a room entirely devoted to nomadic life and culture, one of Mauritania's most significant cultures. Although the nomadic population has decreased in proportion over the last few decades, we cannot overlook this society whose cultural wealth is still present in modern-day Mauritania.

Walking through Walata's streets, we can enjoy its fine red adobe architecture and its characteristic urban structure. The streets are narrow and somewhat labyrinthine, and every now and then we are surprised by covered passageways where we can rest in the shade. We also find large squares like the charismatic Gdnou Square, site of the 'madrassa' or Koranic school.

This school was highly renowned at the time of Walata's greatest splendour and students came from other parts of the country or even from abroad. We will also be surprised by its traditional houses, which we can visit on the occasion of an invitation to tea from its inhabitants.


In the area around the city we can also find different archaeological remains that are a good example of what life was like in the region of Walata over the ages. On the Dhar, a few kilometres west of the city, we can visit the remains of a neolithic village belonging to what is known as the 'Tichitt-Walata Dhar culture'. This culture, which inhabited the Dhar between the fourth and first millenniums BC, left more than 400 stone-built settlements which speak for a time when the climatic conditions were more favourable than they are today, allowing the local population to live largely from fishing. On the track leading to the city, just three kilometres away, we find the sand-covered ruins of the historical Tizeght and its extensive cemetery, where pagan and Muslim graves are mixed. Our cultural tour concludes at the 'French Fort', which stands on the Dhar east of Walata, a building from the colonial age reminding us of that period of Mauritania's past.

   

 

If you would like more information before travelling to Walata, write to us
Project undertaken by: With the collaboration of:
  FNSAV Fundació Solidaritat UB              
With the support of:
Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional
Generalitat de Catalunya                                  Ajuntament de Sant Feliu de Llobregat
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Esta obra está bajo una licencia de Creative Commons.