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Tassili n'Ajjer*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Landsat image of the Tassili n'Ajjer
State Party  Algeria
Type Mixed
Criteria i, iii, vii, viii
Reference 179
Region** Arab States
Inscription history
Inscription 1982  (6th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
Tassili n'Ajjer National Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)
Location Tamanrasset Province, Algeria
Coordinates 25°10′0″N 8°10′0″E / 25.166667°N 8.166667°E / 25.166667; 8.166667Coordinates: 25°10′0″N 8°10′0″E / 25.166667°N 8.166667°E / 25.166667; 8.166667
Area 72,000 km²
Established 1972

Tassili n'Ajjer (Tamazight, "Plateau of the Rivers", Arabic: طاسيلي ناجّر‎) is a mountain range in the Sahara desert in southeast Algeria, North Africa. It extends about 500 km from 26°20′N 5°00′E / 26.333°N 5°E / 26.333; 5 east-south-east to 24°00′N 10°00′E / 24°N 10°E / 24; 10, and the highest point is Adrar Afao, 2158 m, at 25°10′N 8°11′E / 25.167°N 8.183°E / 25.167; 8.183. The nearest town is Djanet, about 10 km southwest of the range.

Much of the range, including the cypresses and archaeological sites (see below), is protected in a National park, Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, named the Tassili n'Ajjer National Park.

Contents

Geology

The range is composed largely of sandstone. Erosion in the area has resulted in nearly 300 natural rock arches being formed, along with many other spectacular landforms.

Ecology

Because of the altitude and the water-holding properties of the sandstone, the vegetation is somewhat richer than the surrounding desert; it includes a very scattered woodland of the endangered endemic species Saharan Cypress and Saharan Myrtle in the higher eastern half of the range.

The ecology of the Tassili n'Ajjer is more fully described in the article West Saharan montane xeric woodlands, the ecoregion to which this area belongs. The literal English translation of Tassili n'Ajjer is 'Plateau of the rivers' referring to a time when the climate was repeatedly far more wet than today (see Neolithic Subpluvial).

Prehistoric art

Carvings of fauna (animals) found in Tassili

The range is also noted for its prehistoric rock paintings and other ancient archaeological sites, dating from neolithic times when the local climate was much moister, with savannah rather than desert. The art depicts herds of cattle, large wild animals including crocodiles, and human activities such as hunting and dancing. The art has strong stylistic links to the pre-Nguni Art of South Africa and the region, executed in caves by the San Peoples before the year 1200 BC.

Further reading

  • Bahn, Paul G. (1998) The Cambridge Illustrated History of Prehistoric Art Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  • Bradley, R (2000) An archaeology of natural places London, Routledge.
  • Bruce-Lockhart, J and Wright, J (2000) Difficult and Dangerous Roads: Hugh Clapperton's Travels in the Sahara and Fezzan 1822-1825
  • Chippindale, Chris and Tacon, S-C (eds) (1998) The Archaeology of Rock Art Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  • Clottes, J. (2002): World Rock Art. Los Angeles: Getty Publications.
  • Coulson, D and Campbell, Alec (2001) African Rock Art: Paintings and Engravings on Stone New York, Harry N Abrams.
  • Holl, Augustin F.C. (2004) Saharan Rock Art, Archaeology of Tassilian Pastoralist Icongraphy
  • Lajoux, Jean-Dominique (1977) Tassili n'Ajjer: Art Rupestre du Sahara Préhistorique
  • Le Quellec, J-L (1998) Art Rupestre et Prehistoire du Sahara. Le Messak Libyen Paris: Editions Payot et Rivages, Biblioteque Scientifique Payot.
  • Lhote, Henri (1959, reprinted 1973) The Search for the Tassili Frescoes: The story of the prehistoric rock-paintings of the Sahara London.
  • Mattingly, D (ed) (forthcoming) The archaeology of the Fezzan.
  • Muzzolini, A (1997) "Saharan Rock Art", in Vogel, J O (ed) Encyclopedia of Precolonial Africa Walnut Creek: 347-353.
  • Van Albada, A. and Van Albada, A.-M. (2000): La Montagne des Hommes-Chiens: Art Rupestre du Messak Lybien Paris, Seuil.
  • Whitley, D S (ed) (2001) Handbook of Rock Art Research New York: Altamira Press.

See also

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Tassili n'Ajjer National Park article)

From Wikitravel

Africa : North Africa : Algeria : Saharan Algeria : Tassili n'Ajjer National Park

Tassili n'Ajjer National Park is in Saharan Algeria. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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