At it has through the ages, the annual Tamanrasset Fair -- which begins in late December and continues through early January -- is reviving Algeria's oldest customs and cultures.
LV Three camels outside
SV AND CU People enter beneath sign "Welcome to Tamanrasset" (2 shots)
SV AND CU People of different races arriving wearing traditional (4 shots)
SV Group of men seated in market place
SV Men seated on ground with transistor radio selling various goods
SV Women examining fabrics being sold
SV People outside market stalls
CU Women carrying bundles on their heads and turning away from camera
SV Man seated on ground selling goods (2 shots)
SV Children watching
LV People walking round stalls.
Initials CL/1732 CL/1752
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Background: At it has through the ages, the annual Tamanrasset Fair -- which begins in late December and continues through early January -- is reviving Algeria's oldest customs and cultures.
Tamanrasset is Algeria's southernmost city, 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometres) from the capital of Algiers, near the borders of the two neighbouring republics of Niger and Mali. In olden times it was a principal centre of the African slave trade, but the camel caravans still using it as a meeting-place today carry mainly salt from Niger and expeditions seeking water in Mali.
The latter commodity is especially important to the Tamanrasset area, for water has been the key to the city's changing status. Once rich in vegetation, Tamanrasset has suffered severely from drought, receiving no normal rainfall for the past eight or ten years. With an extremely hot climate -- Tamanrasset lies between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer -- the now-barren city and surrounding area are burned by day by the scorching Sahara sun and chilled by the desert nights.
But still the caravans come for the historic Tamanrasset Fair, with its rich mixture of races and cultures and customs -- remaining a unique event in Algerian life.