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Big town of the Adrar

While large parts of the traditional architecture of Atar was destroyed by floods and rain in early 1990's, this oasis, one of the largest settlements in Mauritania's north, has enough to hold the interest of most visitors. Atar is a very lively town, an important market centre for a vast region, with nomads coming into town in order to stock up, as well as sell their products (mainly foodstuffs and animals). Unfortunately, Atar is starting to become a place where visitors can be harassed by the young with money or valuables in mind.


The market of Atar is active all through the week, and one of the more interesting sections of it, is the quarter of the smiths, which provide for the local market. Their products along with the products sold in other parts of the market, makes a museum superfluous.
Of attractions Atar, offers a ksar with narrow streets, and a French fort from World War II. The date palmeraie of Atar is a must for people spending time in Atar, green and luscious, and with an impressive irrigation system.
Atar has a number of great excursions, with stone circles 10 km to the north, or to Azougui 15 to the northwest.

Eat and Sleep
Atar has a couple of hotels, which by Mauritanian standards are quite reasonably priced. Some of the restaurants of Atar, also take guests. Eating can be done in cheap eateries. These have a reputation of inflating prices if one has not agreed upon the price in advance.

Atar has 3 weekly flights to Nouakchott (US$60 one way). Taxis connect Atar to Nouakchott as well (US$20), as well as to Choum (which has a railway station, which can bring you to Nouadhibou), or to Chinguetti (below US$8).

Going Next
100 km east: Chinguetti
100 km north: Choum
15 km northwest: Azougui
600 km west: Nouadhibou
500 km southwest: Nouakchott

By Tore Kjeilen