It is from Melika that you get the best overall views of the Oued M’Zab and Ghardaïa itself. The town is about a kilometre to the southeast of Ghardaïa, high above the oued. The main point of interest is the curious cemetery on the northern side of the town where Sidi Aïssa and his family are buried. It’s a series of eerie white tombs with conical structures, almost like turrets, pointing towards the sky.
As the story goes, Sidi Aïssa was a Malakite Muslim who converted to Ibadism after a dream in which he saw three cemeteries. The first was surrounded by flames and smoke and, he believed, was that of the Jews; the second was a Malakite cemetery which emitted groans of pain; and the third cemetery, which he believed was the cemetery of the Ibadis, was bathed in a serene light. After an argument with Melika’s chief, Sidi Aïssa shut himself away, refusing to receive guests, until his death. After his death, the people of Melika, who were very fond of him, decided to build a magnificent tomb.