Ghardaïa (غرداية) is located in northern-central Algeria in the Sahara Desert and lies along the left bank of the Wadi M'zab, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s part of a pentapolis, a hilltop city amongst 4 others, built almost a thousand years ago. It was founded by the Mozabites, a Muslim Ibadi sect of non-Arabic Muslims, including Berbers. It’s a major center of agricultural date production and the manufacture of rugs and cloths. Divided into 3 walled sectors, it’s a fortified town. At the center lies the historical Mʾzabite area, with a pyramid-style mosque and an arcaded square. Distinctive white, pink, and red houses, made of sand, clay and gypsum, rise in terraces and arcades. In her 1963 book, La force des choses the French existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir described Ghardaïa as “a Cubist painting, beautifully constructed”.