An open-air gallery and a breathtaking natural landscape, the Tassili n’Ajjer in Algeria is a world heritage site that covers a vast area of desert landscape in the southern part of Algeria, stretching from the Niger and Libyan border area. It became popular for its ancient rock art that was discovered in the 1930s. Besides its cave art, it’s also famous for its stunning geological rock formations.
Tassili n’Ajjer’s prehistoric cave art has provided information about the life in the region during Neolithic times. Here lives the more than 15,000 rock paintings and engravings that were created as far as 12,000 years ago. The open-air gallery tells about the people who occupied the area over the years and the stories about the changes that happened in this part of the Sahara like the environmental effects of climate change.
The oldest art that you’ll see here is the Wild Fauna Period (10,000-6,000 BC) which shows illustrations of elephants, giraffes, hippos, and rhinos when the area was much wetter than it is right now. Another one is the Round Head Period (8,000-6,000 BC) when human figures were painted with circular heads. Then, it gave way to the Pastoral Period (5500-2000 BC) which depicts the introduction of domesticated cattle with human figures holding spears and performing ceremonies. Next is the Horse Period (1000 BC – AD 1) which shows the introduction of horses and horse-drawn chariots. And lastly, the Camel Period (from about 200 BC to present) as the most recent period of rock-art in the Sahara.
Despite all these archaeological discoveries that will be forever Earth’s treasures, Tassili n’jjer also has a display of beautiful eroded sandstone rocks. You can visit during the main trekking season, from October to November and February to March to have a sight of its unnamed canyons, arches, and other amazing landscapes
Djanet is the nearest town you can stay in before leaving for a day trip to Tassili n’Ajjer. You can already find guided tours to book in this town.
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