UNESCO has officially inscribed Tunisia’s Djerba island on the World Heritage List.
Tunis/Tunisia — Following a number of initiatives started in the 1970s, the application for inscription of the Island of Djerba on the world heritage list was finally accepted, at the beginning of March 2022, by UNESCO. Submitted on February 1, 2022, the case was retained after being evaluated by the Consultative Body on Cultural Heritage of the United Nations Organization.
- Djerba’s Unique Architecture: A Haven of Minimalism
- 10 Mind-Blowingly Interesting Facts About Djerba Island
The National Heritage Institute (INP) under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs proposed the listing of Djerba to the preliminary World Heritage list in February 2012. After six years, the dossier failed to obtain the approval of United Nations experts. Tunisia has increased its efforts in recent years by submitting a file that satisfies UNESCO requirements.
The registration file for the Island of Djerba as a UNESCO heritage site consists of 31 sites and monuments, according to the Association for the Protection of the Island of Djerba (ASM) website, which reviews the history of this issue and the numerous initiatives begun in the mid-1970s.
With an area of 514 km2, Djerba is one of the most strategic locations in the heart of the Mediterranean. The Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) retained for Djerba’s nomination dossier is a series of properties (Menzel, Houch, mosques, fondouks, and oil mills).
“A list of twenty-four monuments proposed for inscription spreads across the island and affects the entire territory, with a geographical concentration that resembles the fertile crescent. The proposed monuments are: The mosques: Sidi Salem, Sidi Smain, Tajdit, Abou Messouer (Al Jamaa El Kebir), Cheikh, Sidi Jmour, Moghzel, Imghar, Guellala, Sidi Yeti, Louta, Essalaouti, El Fguira, Tlakine, Medrajen, El Bessi, Fadhloun, Berdaoui, Welhi, Sidi Zikri, Mthaniya, La Ghriba Synagogue and Saint Nicolas Church.”
According to Unesco’s website, “the island of Djerba can be considered the crossroads of the ancient and medieval Mediterranean due to its geographical location and its position in both regional and Mediterranean history.”
The rich cultural heritage of this island, sung by Homer under the name “island of the Lotophages,” “does not obscure the beauty and quality of the natural landscapes which are still preserved but which are threatened by the combination of several factors, in particular the expansion of urbanization,” according to the UNESCO file.
- The Island of Djerba — The Land of Peace, Openness & Tolerance
- El Ghriba Synagogue, Djerba — Africa’s Oldest Synagogue
The World Heritage Committee, created in 1976, establishes the World Heritage List each year. The purpose of the World Heritage Convention is to recognize sites on Earth are of “outstanding universal value” and should form part of the common heritage of humankind.
If you would like to comment on this article or anything else you have seen on Carthage Magazine, leave a comment below or head over to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. You may also message us via this page.
And if you liked this article, sign up for the monthly features newsletter. A handpicked selection of stories from Carthage Magazine, delivered to your inbox.