Mauritania i// (Arabic: موريتانيا Mūrītānyā; Berber: Muritanya / Agawej; Wolof: Gànnaar; Soninke: Murutaane; Pulaar: Moritani; French: Mauritanie), officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is an Arab Maghreb country in West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, by Western Sahara in the north, by Algeria in the northeast, by Mali in the east and southeast, and by Senegal in the southwest. It is named after the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, which later became a province of the Roman Empire, even though the modern Mauritania covers a territory far to the south of the old Berber kingdom that had no relation with it. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast.
Chinguetti (Arabic: شنقيط Šenqīṭ) is a ksar or medieval trading centre in northern Mauritania, lying on the Adrar Plateau east of Atar.
Founded in the 13th century, as the center of several trans-Saharan trade routes, this tiny city continues to attract a handful of visitors who admire its spare architecture, exotic scenery and ancient libraries. The city is seriously threatened by the encroaching desert; high sand dunes mark the western boundary and several houses have been abandoned to the encroaching sand.
The indigenous Saharan architecture of older sectors of the city features reddish dry stone and mud-brick houses, featuring flat roofs timbered from palms. Many of the older houses feature hand-hewn doors cut from massive ancient acacia trees that have long disappeared from the surroundings. Many homes include courtyards or patios that crowd along narrow streets leading to the central mosque.
Notable buildings in the town include The Friday Mosque of Chinguetti,an ancient structure of dry stone featuring a square minaret capped with five ostrich egg finials; the former French Foreign Legion fortress; and a tall watertower. The old quarter of the Chinguetti is home to five important manuscript libraries of scientific and Qur'anic texts, with many dating from the later Middle Ages.