The City of Séfar, located in the Tassili n’Ajjer (Algeria)

The city of Séfar, located in the Tassili n’Ajjer (Illizi province, 2400 km south of the capital, Algiers).


The city of Séfar is the largest troglodyte city in the world (listed as a World Heritage Site since 1982), the largest open-air museum in the world, housing hundreds of thousands of engravings, drawings, and rock paintings, among which are the famous “Great Gods” and “Martians” of a very particular pictorial style, which are among the oldest and most enigmatic paintings in the world… The dating of these astonishing figures dates back at least 12,000 years ago – or even much more -…


One should never imagine the transition from one cultural style to another as a sharp and brief break. The Capsians of the Bubaline period (Algerian Paleolithic), in the north, did not suddenly disappear to make room for the next, in the south. It is possible to conceive a kind of fading of images as used in cinema to give the impression that many things are happening that cannot be distinctly dissociated. Categories in paleontology are always human constructions that allow understanding. It is noteworthy that up until the Capsian period, man hardly ever represented himself. The engravings from then only feature a pictorial bestiary. The sacred represented first goes outward from the man, the animal, to gradually return to him.


The rock art from the first half of the Neolithic period in the Tassili n’Ajjer (Southern Algeria) offers a vision of an almost extraterrestrial world, populated by strange characters evoking helmeted astronauts. There are neither herds nor hunting scenes in the paintings from this time. Human heads are systematically round, simple, adorned with geometric motifs, painted in red ochre highlighted with white, gray-blue, and yellow.

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In conducting my research beyond the books I possess, my keywords led me to an incalculable number of blogs and websites evoking a famous rock scene from the site of Séfar named by the discoverer “The Martian God.” Renamed by specialists “Great God with Orants of Séfar” – there are many others, it still feeds the imagination of some who see there proofs that man comes from distant galaxies. This propensity to deny one’s probable origins and to seek more uncertain ones hardly affects me; I would like to have them all and honor them for what they might have been. There is not in my mind a point of human history named “ignorance” or “Jahiliyyah”.

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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