There are five UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mauritania. Four of them are the ancient Ksar and trade cities listed below. The fifth is the Banc d’Arguin National Park, which is a protected area for the traditional fishing villages of the Imraguen people.

The Four Ancient
Mauritanian Cities

Founded in the 11th and 12th centuries to serve the caravans crossing the Sahara, these trading and religious centres became focal points of Islamic culture. They have managed to preserve an urban fabric that evolved between the 12th and 16th centuries. Typically, houses with patios crowd along narrow streets around a mosque with a square minaret. They illustrate a traditional way of life centred on the nomadic culture of the people of the western Sahara.

words by UNESCOCC-BY-SA IGO 3.0
Ancient doors and brick walling of Chinguetti


Designated 1996

Chinguetti is an ancient medieval trading center just east of Atar, in the heart of the Adrar region. It is one of four ancient Mauritanian cities, and easily accessible.


Designated 1996

Nestled in the Adrar Plateau, Ouadane is one of the four ancient Mauritanian cities. It was a destination on the trans-Saharan trade route and the closest city to the Richat Structure.

Ouadane old town tower
City of Tichit, as seen from atop its tower


Designated 1996

Tichit is one of the four ancient Mauritanian cities and is located in the Tagant region. It is rich with vernacular architecture and is known for its date farms.


Designated 1996

An UNESCO World Heritage Site, Oualata is one of the four ancient Mauritanian cities, and was once a cornerstone in the trans-Saharan Trade Route as the southern terminus.

Painted doorway in Oualata