Laghouat (lägwätˈ) [key], town (1998 pop. 96,342), N Algeria, an oasis on the north edge of the Sahara Desert. It is an important administrative and military center and marketplace and is known for rug and tapestry weaving. There are natural gas deposits in the region. The town has a meteorological station. Laghouat traces its history at least to the 11th cent. It paid tribute to Morocco in the 17th cent. The Turks captured Laghouat in 1786, and the French conquered the city in 1852.