The city of ocher Timimoun in the wilaya of Adrar is emblematic of the oasis cities of the country.
Between the Great Western Erg and the plateau of Tademait stands the ocher city Timimoun, in the wilaya of Adrar. The main oasis and the capital of Gourara, the town has a traditional architecture adapted to the extreme conditions of the desert environment and mobilizing materials like the ocher clay giving it a reddish color that has become a symbol of the region.
As in the other oases of the Gourara, Timimoun has a village overlooking a palm grove whose water comes from underground works called foggaras. The latter can each reach several tens of kilometers and are intended for the capture of a ground water table and for abduction.
Water from the aquifer is distributed through the kesria system, which receives the water and distributes it by measuring flow through a “distributor comb” (mechta). The system extends over a series of secondary and tertiary channels (seguias) that take water to the farmer’s pool, called majen. The foggaras constitute a constant source of water in the arid region and allow the establishment of agricultural crops for local populations. The work has often been made possible through the touiza, a system of mutual assistance and traditional cooperation still present in many regions of the country.
The typical Ksourian urban rationalism of Timimoun has undergone major upheavals in connection with the large population growth transforming the municipality into a spread Saharan agglomeration. These changes posed new challenges for the preservation of the palm plantation, accompanied by a tertiarization of the local economy, shifting it from agricultural activities to new administrative economic activities.
Timimoun still retains many characteristics typical of the Gourara’s heritage, its Ksourian architecture, its culture, traditions, rituals and legends.
The heritage is perpetuated in particular through the poetic song of the region, the Ahelil of the Gourara, inscribed on the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of the humanity of UNESCO and practiced during the collective ceremonies of rejoicing religious or profane.
Because of its culture, its traditional urbanism with ocher tones adapting to the constraints of the environment, Timimoun is emblematic of the oasis cities of the country.