White sand beaches, hundreds of palm trees, a clear blue sea, and an oasis of tranquility. Located in the Gulf of Gabes, the island of Djerba is inseparable from the image of Tunisia. Sweet climate, the authenticity of villages, and seaside tourism have made its reputation. Served by an international airport, it is a landmark destination that will allow you, on its 514 km ², to taste a delicious sea as to picturesque visits.
Djerba was well known in ancient times, since Homer’s hero, Ulysses, made a stop there. She was Carthaginian, then Roman. Two Roman emperors were born there. The island has remains of the Roman era: Meninx, near El Kantara, and the Roman road of 6 km, which still connects the island to the mainland. Christianity spread there for some time. Invaded by the Vandals, then by the Byzantines, it was conquered by the Arabs in 667. Then it was devastated by the Hilalian tribes, from the East in the eleventh century. She then experienced other troubles for centuries. It was the operational base of the great Turkish pirates, Dragut and Barbarossa. Djerba is the only place in Tunisia where there are representatives of a “Schismatic” Muslim sect, the Kharijites.
Geographical data 25 km long and 22 km wide, Djerba has 125 km of coast or 1/10 of the Tunisian coastline. Flatland and very low altitude, it has no salient relief. The climate, under the moderating influence of the sea, is very soft.
Art of living
Its population has about 80,000 inhabitants. It is largely of Berber origin, of Moslem religion with a minority that adopted the “Kharijite”. A Jewish community, today very small, had settled on the island, well before the Arabs, probably for more than twenty centuries. Except for the capital, Houmt Souk, the agglomerations are only small villages: Sedghiane, Midoun, Sedouikech, Guellala, Ajim … The habitat is scattered: in the middle of the Menzel, small farm demarcated by a raised earth up from a hedge of cactus rises the habitation, called Houch. The economy is quite diverse. We practice arboriculture: palm trees, olive trees, vines, fig-trees, apple trees, almond trees, apricot trees, orange trees, pomegranates … The island also produces vegetables and cereals. The breeding is little practiced. The surroundings of the island are good for fishing. The main branches of crafts are weaving and pottery.
A high-level tourism product
Tourism has invested Djerba without distorting it. The option is available in all formulas with more than 150 tourist establishments: holiday clubs that explore all seaside leisure activities, luxury hotels that offer golf and thalassotherapy to their clientele and, more and more widespread, houses of guests where you will appreciate the charm of the island in a typical architectural setting.
The tourism sector represents the inhabitants of the most important economic resource. The hotel infrastructure, very rich and varied, is of a high level; despite a large number of hotels, the hotel landscape remains very airy and integrates perfectly with the environment. The animation in the hotels of Djerba is particularly neat. The tennis courts are numerous. You will find all the facilities for practicing water skiing, scuba diving, and horse riding. Cycling and horse riding allows you to discover the hidden charms of the landscape, the Menzel, the villages and countless mosques. The golf course, designed by Martin Hawtree, combines two courses, an 18-hole course, and a 9-hole course.
Djerba has an international airport that connects it directly to major European cities. One or two hours of flight and visitors land on this paradise.
Civil and religious architecture
- Houmt Souk : The administrative capital of the island is a small town that has kept intact its old world charm.
- The bazaars (souks): They are formed, in the heart of the old town, with a narrow network of narrow streets lined with stalls. They are always very animated. There are fabrics, carpets, utensils, jewelry … The souk of jewelers breathes prosperity. The workshops of artisans are many: weavers, blacksmiths
- The Fondouks: In the middle of the souks, are the fondouks, caravanserais or hotel-warehouses, built on the same model: a vast central courtyard surrounded by two levels of galleries on which small cells open. Four monuments In the area of souks and fondouks,
- The four religious monuments: In Zaouia of Sidi Brahim El Jemni, a complex comprising madrassah, bakery, hammam, and mausoleum; Jemaâ El Ghorba (Mosque of foreigners), of Malikite rite; Jemaâ Et-Trouk (mosque of the Turks), of Hanefite rite. The Ech-Sheikh Mosque is the main sanctuary of Ibadite culture (Kharijite).
- Borj El Kebir: The great fortress is also called Borj Ghazi Mustapha or Spanish. On the remains of an old Roman fort, Roger de Loria, Admiral of Aragon and Sicily, built a new fortress. In the middle of the fifteenth century, the Hafsidian Sultan, Abu Farès El Hafsi, completed the construction, which was further strengthened by the corsair Dragut in 1557 and in 1560, by the Spanish, who are there, the same year, besieged and exterminated. strong, rectangular, has several towers, and is surrounded by a very wide moat. There are cannons, remains of ceramics, cannonballs, Roman remains …
- The Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions: The museum allows to discover the folkloric wealth of the island. The presentation of the collections is very neat, with detailed explanations. We can admire a rich collection of costumes from various social groups and various ethnic groups, jewels made by Jewish craftsmen, copies of the Koran and chests of Koran, utensils a kitchen, a reconstituted potter’s workshop, pottery, large jars, carved stucco, ancient ceramic tiles … From Houmt Souk, you can reach by boat the end of a sandy peninsula, Ras Er Ramel. The beach is beautiful, the water is pure and the landscape is pristine. A heavenly place.
- Jewish villages: Hara Kbira, now Es-Souani, is very close to Houmt Souk. Low-rise houses are dominated by synagogues. The walls of these sanctuaries are each pierced by three windows. The twelve windows symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel. Hara Sghira is currently called Er-Riadh. It is the oldest Jewish village in Djerba. It is in this village that we find the synagogue of Ghriba, where every year a pilgrimage is held that attracts Jews from all countries and in particular the natives of Tunisia. This synagogue is one of the oldest Tora in the world. Jews in Tunisia The first Jews came to Tunisia at the end of the 6th century BC, at the time of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. Some of them are set in Djerba. It would be this first wave that would have built the synagogue of Ghriba, a high place of spirituality. Other groups settled in the country after the capture of Jerusalem by Titus and the deportations he ordered in 70. The Spanish communities arrive in turn, at the end of the 14th century and in 1492, after the reconquest of Spain by Christians. Some came directly, others after a visit to Livorno, Italy, and a stay in this city. They are the Livornese Jews or Grana. An exceptional world of habitat is scattered. Also, human concentrations are rare. The few agglomerations take, therefore, a particular relief and acquire a clearly marked personality.
- Ajim: This is the main port of the island. It is the arrival jetty of the ferry Jorf, the communication route, in addition to the Roman road between the island and the mainland. It is also a fishing port, including sponges. In the surrounding area, there is the densest palm of the island. The palms produce, in addition to dates of poor quality, a juice, the Legmi, which is obtained by practicing bleeding at the base of the branches. This juice is sweet. It ferments easily and is an alcoholic.
- Gualala: Is the capital of pottery. It is a charming little village.
- Mahboubine: It is a garden village. It is surrounded by vineyards, fruit trees, and olive groves. His mosque, El Kareb, does not lack interest. It is in the vicinity of this village that we find the most beautiful specimens of Menzel.
- Midoun: Second center of the island after Houmt Souk, owns several mosques. Its market is held on Friday: fruits, vegetables, fish, pottery, baskets, mats …
- The island of El Kantara: This is the beginning of the Roman road. Just a few kilometers to the north are the remains of the ancient Meninx, founded ten centuries before the Christian era. The Phoenicians have established workshops of purple. There are the ruins of a large Christian basilica, capitals, marble columns … 30 km of beaches and palaces A few kilometers from Houmt Souk, on the north-east coast of the island, begin the beautiful beaches with white sand, which extend, without interruption, to Aghir, in the south-east.
Things to Do In Djerba Island
From tennis to water skiing, from horse riding to scuba diving, from cultural festivals to discover the palm groves, the range of activities opens up to you, multiple and varied. Sail with the fishermen of Zarzis, in search of natural sponges, remove the wriggling nets, with those of Houmt Souk and Mellita in their fixed fisheries, a plenitude of the sea and imperishable memories!
Do you want to go on a microlight ultralight tour? The palm grove near Lella Hadria ripples at your feet.
Along the hollow paths, you may meet a bride in “Jehfa” (Bridal procession). On a camel, to the sound of the tambourine and the bagpipe …
The community of Midoun will make you attend the old African dance of “Gougou”: a great folkloric moment.
When you admire the pink glamor on the sandbanks on the side of Ras El R’Mel, true emotion will be engraved in your heart.
- Royal Carriage Club Riding School: The fact that this is the only riding school in Djerba says everything you need to know about its reputation. …The Club has absolutely everything you could possibly wish from horses, whether it’s individual lessons or fully scheduled weekly courses. Don’t be fooled into thinking that they just specialize in one area of the sport either, it’s suitable for jump enthusiasts to those that enjoy the dressage elements.
- Krokodil farm: The Krokodil farm of Djerba has more than 400 amazing reptiles for the animal enthusiast to lay eyes on. You may view the crocs during feeding time, which can be quite exciting and wild. The croc farm also has a restaurant if you get hungry and feel like trying some local dishes.
- Gualala Museum: This museum is truly local and is rich in Djerba history, it shows how the island’s industries and crafts are worked on and the extremely interesting ceremonies regarding marriage in Djerba, this museum will definitely give a traveler some insight into the strange island of Djerba.
- Djerba Explore Park: A village and a leisure park and attractions dedicated to the heritage and culture of the island of Djerba,
- Quad Evasion & Passion: Quad rides that allow you to discover the interior of the island of Djerba otherwise.
- Blue Dolphin Dive: Professional diving club with a very nice team! Take a wildlife tour and swim with dolphins.
The start point to the Sahara!
Djerba also is an ideal starting point for excursions to the great desert south, with the promise of a delightful rest on its way back to its shores.
DJERBA CANDIDATE FOR THE INSCRIPTION IN THE WORLD HERITAGE OF UNESCO
After an in-depth study of Djerba, its history, its cultural, architectural, and urban specificities, experts reached a unanimous conclusion: the island exhibits unique features; therefore, giving it the right to apply as a world heritage.
If you have not yet supported Djerba’s candidacy by signing his guestbook, go to www.djerba-island.com register and Sign the golden record.