Known for its unique form of desert architecture, El Oued is a picturesque city set within the endless sand sea of the Grand Erg Oriental. It has been nicknamed the “City of a Thousand Domes” for its unique brick houses that provide a shield from the heat of the Sahara Desert.
Things to do
The historic centre of El Oued is home to a bustling daily souk where you can shop for traditional handicrafts, such as carpets with Souf crosses and slipper-like shoes known as “affanes”. Time your visit for a Friday, when the animated weekly camel market takes place.
Visit the Sidi Salem Mosque, which has a minaret towering over the city. There are impressive views of the historic domes of El Oued juxtaposed against the surrounding sands of the Grand Erg Oriental from the minaret.
Want to learn more about the history and traditions of El Oued? Visit the small Cultural Centre in the heart of the city. A monument stands nearby honouring the Algerian heroes that fought in the resistance against French colonisers and is surrounded by a wall of tiled murals depicting scenes from Algeria’s history.
El Oued makes an excellent base for exploring the Grand Erg Oriental, a vast region of sand dunes that cover the south of Algeria. Take a jeep tour to visit the extensive palm plantations and the large salt lake of Chott Melrhir, as well as villages that have flourished upon the oases.
Guemar Airport is around 30 minutes’ north of El Oued, with regular flights to Algiers and Annaba. Buses connect the towns that scatter across El Oued Province, while the city itself can be explored on foot.