- A city of about 60,000 people and the capital of the Tamanrasset wilaya or département in southern Algeria. The region consists of Tamanrasset, In Salah, and In Qazzam. The entire population of the wilaya is estimated at 152,000. Before the arrival of the French, Tamanrasset was a caravan trade stop on the way to the Sudan and today is a major desert tourism hub. The city is located in the environs of the Ahaggar Mountains. The landscape is diverse, as the entire area starts at 1,400 meters above sea level, with the highest peaks of the Ahaggar range-all 240,000 square kilometers of it-reaching around 3,000 meters. Tamanrasset is not a typical Saharan date palm oasis with sufficient water, and its groundwater is so limited that households' water needs and agricultural irrigation practices are severely rationed.The oldest adobe fort in town was built by Charles de Foucauld, a French religious hermit who settled in 1905 to live among the Tuareg. Because of its poverty and isolation, Foucauld thought it the perfect location for the monastery he intended to found. Recognizing his unsuccessful efforts to convert the Tuareg to Christianity, he began to study their language, Tamasheq, and their writing, Tifinagh. From his work came the first French-Tamasheq dictionary, which is still considered the best reference in Berber linguistics. In 1910, he constructed a hermitage (barj) on the peak of Assekrem, one of the highest in the Ahaggar Mountains. But not all the Tuareg welcomed his stay. On the night of 1 December 1916, Tuareg rebels assassinated him. After the submission of the Kel Ahaggar in the early 1900s, Tamanrasset became a French military post in 1920.
Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . Hsain Ilahiane. 2014.