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Ghadames is a Libyan oasis town that lies along the borders of Algeria and Tunisia in the south west of the country. There are approximately 10,000 inhabitants in this oasis city. The city is actually two cities, the old city and the new city. In 1986 the inhabitants began moving into a newly built city, but they still use the old city during the hot summer months as its old architectural styles offer relief from the Saharan heat.


Made of natural materials and with inventive architectural styles, the buildings of Ghadames are designed to protect the inhabitants against the extreme climate.


Ghadames is well known for its beautiful and inventive architectural styles. Houses and other structures are specially built to withstand the extremes of the hot Saharan climate. The houses are made from mud, lime and palm tree trunks. The city is constructed with connecting roofs with covered alleyways between them. This allows the inhabitants to pass freely from house to house without having to expose themselves to the strong sun, blowing sand and heat. The structures are white washed, giving a clean reflective surface to turn back the strong rays of the sun.

In contrast to the stark appearance of the towns exterior, the insides of homes are decorated with intricate designs. Roofs connect the houses. The alleyways have small openings in the ceilings to allow for light and air circulation.Interior spaces in homes are colorful in contrast to the stark exterior spaces.The economical base for Ghadames has been dwindling over the years.

Earlier the town was an important stopover on the caravan routes crossing the Sahara. Today's income is from camel breeding, small agriculture projects and administrative and military activities.


Tourism plays an important roll in the city with many visitors from all over the world coming to attend the annual Festival of Dates which is held each October. October marks the end of the date harvest and the festival is a place where folk singers and dancers gather to entertain the people and dates and handicrafts are sold.

Folk dancing and music are performed at the annual Festival of Dates. Folk dancers and musicians gather from all over Libya to attend the festival.

Ghadames 683 km. Southwest of Tripoli, is reached either by land or by air. It offers to tourists comfortable accommodation in the middle of the desert. The town distinguishes itself by its shape and look which are both extraordinary. It is full of small covered streets which run like-corridors, even through the house have flat intercommunicating terraces reserved for women only.


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