Fringing the Atlantic coast, the park comprises sand-dunes, coastal swamps, small islands and shallow coastal waters. The contrast between the harsh desert environment and the biodiversity of the marine zone has resulted in a land and seascape of outstanding natural significance. A wide variety of migrating birds spend the winter there. Several species of sea turtle and dolphin, used by the fishermen to attract shoals of fish, can also be found.
Since 1989 it is a Unesco site.
Thanks to Gilly for the postcard.
These four ancient towns, founded in the 11th and 12th centuries, were originally built to serve the important caravan trade routes that began crossing the Sahara. They comprise outstanding examples of settlements and were synonymous with cultural, social and economic life over numerous centuries. These trading and religious centres became the home of Islamic culture.
Developed between the 12th and 16th centuries, the towns constitute a series of stages along the trans-Saharan trade route with a remarkably well preserved urban fabric, and houses with patios densely-packed into narrow streets around a mosque with a square minaret. They bear witness to a traditional lifestyle, centred on the nomadic culture of the populations of Western Sahara. The medieval towns retain a specific safeguarded urban morphology with narrow and winding lanes, houses built around central courtyards and an original decorative stone architecture. They also illustrate outstanding examples of the adaptation of urban life to the extreme climatic conditions of the desert, both as regards construction methods and the occupation of space and agricultural practices.
Since 1996 it is a Unesco site.
Thanks to Marcel for the postcard.