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Diving into the Lost and the Mysterious City of Sifar

   Algeria is the land of richness in terms of races, dialects, natural resources and archeological sites. As evidence, the Algerian Sahara embraces a very vast plateau called Tassili N’Ajjer (which means in Tamazight "Plateau of the rivers"), in the province of Elizi, covering an area of 72,000 square kilometers. In the heart of this breathtaking plateau, a panoramic view (forest of rocks) of a strange lunar landscape with its eroded sandstone that dates back to the prehistoric era, called the City of Sifar. It is considered as the largest fossilized city in the world and the eighth wonder of the world.

   The Rock City or Sifar City possesses an amazing archeological and breathtaking landscapes dating back to some 10000 years. It is seen the greatest open-air museum in the world. It also considered as the largest troglodyte city in the world (listed as World Heritage since 1982) which house hundreds of thousands of carvings, drawings and cave paintings .It contains more than five thousand cavernous houses and more than 15 thousand murals and engravings (a pictorial of man and bestiary) dating back more than 20 thousand years. Among the famous figures of this great geological site;"Great Gods" and "Martians" are among the oldest and most enigmatic paintings in the world. In this prehistoric rock art, the human heads are systematically round, simple, decorated with geometric patterns, painted in red ocher and enhanced with white, blue-gray and yellow.

  These amazing figures and symbols hold a great cultural heritage which testifies the strong relationship between man and his environment .The rock art depicts the very old prehistoric cultures and the evolution of civilizations in the region. It portrays also the cultural behaviors adapted to the harshness of the climate, climate changes, changes in fauna and flora, wildlife migrations and the evolution of human life on the borders of the Sahara. Some remarkable set of rock paintings and engravings from various periods give us an idea about the population who lived in this region and who have left numerous archaeological traces behind them. They represent also their religious practices and their daily and social life. Other rocks show images of the domestication of horses and camels and show species that depend on water, such as the hippopotamus and species extinct in the region for several thousand years. 

  Tassili N'Ajjer is one of the essential elements of an ecological belt and its mysterious Sifar is an outstanding universal value which brings together animal and plant species of the Saharan, tropical and Mediterranean type, adapted to the harsh climate. However, it is more vulnerable to deterioration caused by climatic conditions (harshness of Sahara) that’s why it must be protected in order to revive tourism in the country.

Written by ARAB Sabrina

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