General Information

 Is the capital and largest city of Mauritania. It is one of the largest cities in the Sahara. The city also serves as the administrative and economic centre of Mauritania. Nouakchott was a small village of little importance until 1958, when it was chosen as the capital of the nascent nation of Mauritania. Nouakchott features a hot desert climate.

The city is the hub of the Mauritanian economy and is home to a deepwater port and one of the country's two international airports. It hosts the University of Nouakchott and several other more specialized institutes of higher learning.

Located on the Atlantic coast of the Sahara Desert, it lies on the west coast of Africa. With the exception of Friendship Port and a small fishing port, the coastal strip is mostly left empty and allowed to flood. The coastline includes shifting sandbanks and sandy beaches. There are areas of quicksand close to the harbour.

 Nouakchott is largely flat and only a few meters above sea level. It is threatened by the sand dunes advancing from its eastern side which pose a daily problem. Owing to the rapid build-up, the city is quite spread out, with few tall buildings. Most buildings are one-story.

Nouakchott is built around a large tree-lined street, Avenue Gamal Abdel Nasser, which runs northeast through the city centre from the airport. It divides the city into two, with the residential areas in the north and the medina quarter, along with the kebbe, a shanty town formed due to the displacement of people from other areas by the desert.

The kebbe consists of cement buildings that are built overnight and made to look permanent to avoid destruction by the authorities. In 1999, it was estimated that more than half of the city's inhabitants lived in tents and shacks, which were used for residential as well as business purposes.

Attractions in Nouakchott include the National Museum of Mauritania, the National Library and the National Archives. The city hosts several markets including the Nouakchott Silver Market, and the beaches.

One beach is devoted to fishing boats where fish can be bought fresh. Nouakchott is a principal selling place of native Saharan meteorites. There is a mosque donated by Saudi Arabia in the city centre and a Moroccan mosque further south.  Although Islam is the state religion in Mauritania, Nouakchott includes the Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph. It is home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nouakchott, founded in 1965