Djerba, or Jerba, protecting 200 sq. miles and now owned by Tunisia, the biggest island thought of to be a part of North Africa, is within the Gulf of Gabes simply off the Cap Bon Peninsula. Nobody ought to depart Tunisia with out experiencing this legendary place. Djerba was virtually actually Homer’s inspiration for the isle that offered refuge to Odysseus from the sirens on his voyage throughout the Mediterranean. Djerba is certainly a paradise, blooming with flowers, orange groves, and olive bushes, dotted with the distinctive sq. whitewashed homes often known as menzels. Djerba has magnificent seashores, beguiling historic ruins, and the teeming Houmt Souk market, however certainly its greatest draw for Individuals is the little village of Ajim, the place the outside scenes of the primary Star Wars movie had been shot.
Djerba has had a number of completely different names within the final two thousand years. It was referred to as Meninx till about 300 AD, residence to 3 main cities, one in all which was a significant producer of the well-known murex dye for clothes, made out of sea snails. The island was extra densely populated in Roman instances than it’s now. Throughout the Center Ages, Christians from neighboring Sicily and Aragon in Spain fought over it and numerous navy forts from this era nonetheless stand, together with dozens of small mosques.
Homer recounts how Odysseus, fleeing the sirens, got here throughout a stupendous island the place delicate fruit grew in abundance, residence to the lotus-eaters. All his sailors partook of this scrumptious fruit (which many imagine to have been candy dates — make sure you attempt some Djerba dates while you’re right here) and having eaten the fruit misplaced all reminiscence of their homeland and their households. Djerba is residence to dozens of historic mosques which offer advantageous examples of Mediterranean Islamic structure together with the impregnable stronghold of El Kebir relationship from the thirteenth century, which down by way of the ages has served to garrison Arab, Spanish, French, and Turkish troops.
Absolutely the point of interest of your complete island is the gorgeous, whitewashed metropolis of Houmt Souk, the place buildings appear like they’ve been bleached snow white by a magic, cleaning rain. About 5 miles from the capital is the palm-fringed village of Guellala, world-renown for its vibrant ceramics, blazing with major colours.
Djerba can be residence to the traditional El Ghriba Synagogue, also called the Djerba Synagogue, positioned within the village of Hara Seghira a pair miles southwest of Houmt Souk, which is the central city space of your complete island. The synagogue is a holy vacation spot for a lot of Tunisian Jews throughout an annual pilgrimage that takes place in observance of Lag Ba-Omer, a vacation set 33 days after Passover. The inside, with its wealthy lattice of stained glass and tiles, is a haven of peace the place the devoted pray within the cool shade. Although it’s right now primarily an Islamic nation, Tunisia has a wealthy Jewish heritage stretching constantly again in time for 25 centuries. Among the names with the deepest historic roots in Tunisia are Jewish households.
The beautiful storybook village of Ajim, in Tataouine, was personally chosen by George Lucas to be the placement for taking pictures memorable scenes of Star Wars. The dream-like landscapes right here, so harking back to the work of Dali (who usually got here to Djerba) proceed to astonish all who come right here to expertise the positioning in individual. Entrance is free, however I at all times make it some extent to tip the watchmen.
When it comes to eating and overnighting, El Farida in Sidi Mahrez, is essentially the most classically stunning and opulent hostelry on the island, with a kitchen that serves glorious conventional delicacies and completely contemporary seafood, regionally caught. For advantageous eating in Houmt Souk, the Horoun restaurant focuses on fish, whereas the Guestile, in Midoun, is ideal for a relaxed meal of fish and couscous. Do not depart the island with out visiting the Cafe Les Arcades the place you will discover the locals enjoying backgammon and smoking their hookahs.