Nouakchott is the capital city of Mauritania
, located on a plateau on the West African Atlantic coast
. It started as just another village along the coast, but after the country became independent it was built up in 1958
for a capital for 15,000 people. Today it is the largest city in the Sahara
, home to 600,000 people. Due to recurring droughts in the Sahara, people have been forced to give up their traditional ways of life and move into the city. Nouakchott is known as a Muslim
city with more "western" problems than usual, like drug abuse and extreme poverty.
The city of Nouakchott is said to be very laid back. There is little persecution of women and their freedom isn't limited. The city is built around the Place de l'Indépendence and the city is full of market shops. None of the buildings there are very old, but the city is home to two very impressive mosques: one donated by Saudi Arabia and one Moroccan mosque. For tourists, the city can be rather expensive, but still cheaper than major cities like Paris or New York.