Djerba, or Jerba, protecting 200 sq. miles and now owned by Tunisia, the most important island thought-about 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 nearly definitely Homer’s inspiration for the isle that supplied refuge to Odysseus from the sirens on his voyage throughout the Mediterranean. Djerba is certainly a paradise, blooming with flowers, orange groves, and olive timber, dotted with the distinctive sq. whitewashed homes referred to as menzels. Djerba has magnificent seashores, beguiling historic ruins, and the teeming Houmt Souk market, however absolutely its largest draw for People 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 totally different names within the final two thousand years. It was known as Meninx till about 300 AD, house to a few main cities, certainly one of which was a serious producer of the well-known murex dye for clothes, created from sea snails. The island was extra densely populated in Roman occasions than it’s now. In the course of the Center Ages, Christians from neighboring Sicily and Aragon in Spain fought over it and numerous army forts from this era nonetheless stand, together with dozens of small mosques.
Homer recounts how Odysseus, fleeing the sirens, got here throughout an exquisite island the place delicate fruit grew in abundance, house to the lotus-eaters. All his sailors partook of this scrumptious fruit (which many consider to have been candy dates — you’ll want to strive some Djerba dates when you are right here) and having eaten the fruit misplaced all reminiscence of their homeland and their households. Djerba is house to dozens of historic mosques which offer fantastic examples of Mediterranean Islamic structure together with the impregnable stronghold of El Kebir relationship from the thirteenth century, which down by the ages has served to garrison Arab, Spanish, French, and Turkish troops.
Certainly the point of interest of the whole 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 house to the traditional El Ghriba Synagogue, also referred to as the Djerba Synagogue, positioned within the village of Hara Seghira a pair miles southwest of Houmt Souk, which is the central city space of the whole 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 as we speak primarily an Islamic nation, Tunisia has a wealthy Jewish heritage stretching constantly again in time for 25 centuries. A few of 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 capturing memorable scenes of Star Wars. The dream-like landscapes right here, so paying homage to the work of Dali (who typically got here to Djerba) proceed to astonish all who come right here to expertise the location in individual. Entrance is free, however I all the time make it a degree 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 wonderful conventional delicacies and completely contemporary seafood, domestically caught. For fantastic eating in Houmt Souk, the Horoun restaurant makes a speciality of 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 taking part in backgammon and smoking their hookahs.