Djerba is an island located off the coast of Tunisia in North Africa that is known for its rich history, diverse culture, and beautiful beaches.
Over the last few decades, Djerba has managed to make its presence felt in the tourist industry, becoming one of the most famous destinations in the Mediterranean. The main reasons why it’s popular, are its dramatic sunsets over the beaches and the scenic streets full of white-washed houses and unique architecture. Plenty of people, choose Djerba as their summer, marriage or honeymoon destination and so on.
Interesting Facts about Djerba
All of the above, probably you already knew, this is why, in this article, we gathered some peculiar and interesting facts about Djerba.
#1. Djerba is Twice the Size of Malta
Djerba and Malta are both popular tourist destinations located in the Mediterranean Sea. The two islands share a lot of similarities, such as it terms of history, culture, and architecture, and traditional villages but they differ in terms of their size and location.
Malta is a Southern European island country, located 80 km (50 mi) south of Sicily, Italy. It has a total area of 316 km² (122 sq mi), of which 246 km² (95 sq mi) is land.
Djerba Island, on the other hand, is located in the Gulf of Gabes, off the coast of Tunisia. It is the largest island in North Africa and covers an area of approximately 514 km² (198 sq mi), of which 446 km² (172 sq mi) is land.
Therefore, the island of Djerba is larger than Malta, almost twice the size in fact.
Suggested Read: The Island of Djerba — The Land of Peace, Openness & Tolerance
#2. Djerba is the Largest Island in North Africa & the Sixth in the Mediterranean
Djerba is located off the coast of southern Tunisia, it is often considered the largest island in North Africa. It has a land area of approximately 514 km² (198 square miles), which makes it larger than any other North African islands. It is in fact, the sixth largest island in the whole Mediterranean Sea. The sixth largest islands in the Mediterranean are:
- Sicily (Italy) – 25,713 km²
- Sardinia (Italy) – 24,090 km²
- Cyprus – 9,251 km²
- Corsica (France) – 8,680 km²
- Crete (Greece) – 8,336 km²
- Djerba (Tunisia) – 514 km²
#3. Djerba is Home to Africa’s Oldest Synagogue
Djerba is home to the Ghriba Synagogue, which is Africa’s oldest synagogue. It was founded at the time of the destruction of the First or Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in either 586 BCE, and contains a stone from the temple.
Today the synagogue, which was rebuilt in the 19th century, has rows of benches, brilliant white-and-blue arches as well as an outdoor arcade and other resplendent design features.
#4. Djerba Hosts Annual Jewish Lag B’Omer Pilgrimage
One of the most interesting facts about Djerba is its popular ancient synagogue, El Ghriba. The Djerba synagogue’s name, El Ghriba, means “the isolated one” and derived from another legend. According to “A History of Jewish-Muslim Relations,” published in 2013, local Jews long ago discovered the body of a girl who lived and died alone — but whose body was miraculously preserved.
That incident was also the inspiration for the annual pilgrimage on the holiday of Lag B’Omer, which takes place each spring, a little more than a month after the beginning of Passover. Pilgrims who come to the synagogue pray, dance, sing, feast, light candles and write their wishes on hard-boiled eggs.
#5. Djerba is a Significant Religious Center
Djerba is a significant religious center, particularly for Judaism and Islam. The island has a long history of Jewish settlement, dating back over 2,500 years, and is home to the El Ghriba Synagogue, which is the oldest in Arica and an important pilgrimage site for Jews. The Jewish community on Djerba has its own unique traditions and customs, and the island is known for its distinctive Jewish-Arabic dialect.
Djerba is also an important religious center for Islam. It is home to several mosques, many of which are centuries old. including the Grand Mosque of Djerba, which is the largest mosque on the island and is located in the town of Houmt Souk. The mosque is a popular destination for Muslim pilgrims, particularly during the month of Ramadan, when the island’s population swells as visitors come to participate in religious observances.
Djerba’s rich history and unique cultural heritage have made it an important religious center for both Judaism and Islam, as well as a popular destination for tourists interested in exploring the island’s fascinating history and culture.
#6. Djerba has Over 365 Mosques
Djerba is believed to be home to over 365 mosques, many of which are centuries old. Some of the most notable mosques on the island include:
- The Fadhloun Mosque is a 14th-century Ibadite mosque located in the town of Midoun. It is one of the most important mosques on the island and is a popular tourist destination.
- The Sidi Jmour Mosque is a 16th-century mosque located on the coast of Djerba. It is known for its beautiful architecture and its location overlooking the sea.
- The Guellala Mosque is a 19th-century mosque located in the town of Guellala. It is known for its intricate tilework and its large dome.
- The Houmt Souk Mosque is a 17th-century mosque located in the town of Houmt Souk. It is known for its unique design, which incorporates both Islamic and European elements.
- The Sidi Mahrez Mosque is a 19th-century mosque located in the town of Houmet Essouk. It is known for its beautiful minaret, which is one of the tallest on the island.
These are just a few of the many mosques that can be found on Djerba. The legend says that for the 365 mosques, Muslims in Djerba can pray at a different mosque every day of the year. The island is a great place to learn about Islamic culture and architecture.
#7. Beautiful Sandy Beaches & Dramatic Sunsets
Djerba is known for its soft white-sand beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and stunning sunsets, making it a popular destination for people looking to relax and unwind.
The island’s sunsets are truly breathtaking, with the sky turning shades of pink, orange, and purple as the sun dips below the horizon. They are definitely some of the most beautiful in the world, with the sun setting over the Mediterranean Sea.
There are a number of places to catch the sunset, including rooftop bars, restaurants with views, or beaches, from which actually there are a variety to choose from, ranging from secluded coves to lively resorts.
The island is also a popular destination for birdwatching, with over 250 species of birds found over there.
#8. Djerba has an Extremely Rich History & Culture
Djerba has a rich and unique culture and history. The island has been inhabited for over 6,000 years, and it has been a crossroads of cultures for centuries. The Berbers are considered to be the indigenous people of North Africa and thus believed to be the first inhabitants of the island. Djerba was first settled by the Phoenicians in the 10th century BCE, and it was later conquered by the Romans, the Arabs, and the Ottomans. Each of these cultures left its mark on Djerba, and the island’s rich culture is a testament to its long and storied history. The island continues to be inhabited by a diverse population, blending Arab, Amazigh, European and other cultural influences.
One of the most notable aspects of Djerba’s culture is its religious diversity. The island is home to a large Jewish community, as well as a majority Muslim population. The island’s Jewish community is one of the oldest in the world, and it is home to the El Ghriba Synagogue, one of the most important synagogues in the world.
Djerba’s culture is also reflected in its cuisine, art, and music. The island’s cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean and North African flavors, and it is known for its fresh seafood, Couscous, Rouz Jerbi, Masfouf Jerbi, Zomitta and Tajine. It is also home to a number of traditional crafts, including pottery, weaving, and embroidery.
The island’s music is a blend of traditional and modern sounds, and it is home to a number of musicians who play traditional instruments, such as the Darbouka and the Zokra.
Djerba’s rich culture and history make it a fascinating place to visit. The island is a great place to learn about different cultures and to experience the diversity of the Mediterranean world.
#9. One of the Most Laidback Places in Tunisia
Djerba is known for its laidback and relaxed atmosphere, which makes it a perfect destination for whoever looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The relaxed, calm, peaceful atmosphere is a key part of its appeal.
The slow pace of life, combined with the friendly and welcoming nature of the locals, rich cultural heritage, and stunning natural beauty, they create a warm and inviting atmosphere that is hard to resist. it is definitely the perfect place to unwind, relax, and to simply enjoy the simple things.
#10. The Djerbian Identity is One of Business-Oriented
The residents of Djerba are known to be merchants. Their identity is that one of business-oriented people. They are known to have a strong commercial spirit, for which this has become sort of a legendary. In Tunisia, the term “Djerbian” has become synonymous with tradesperson, business-minded.
As an example, speaking of businesses, for decades, the natives of Djerba have created networks of grocery stores in the island, around Tunisia and abroad. They were and still are, in competition with supermarkets and other big stores.
Similar Read: Facts About Tunisia — 15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know
Still Looking for More Interesting Facts about Djerba? Read on
Djerba hosts one of the largest open-air museums of street art in the region. It is called Djerbahood and is in the village of Erriadh in the middle of the island. The museum was created in 2014 by the French art gallery Itinerrance, and it features works by over 150 artists from around the world. The artworks are painted on the walls of the village’s traditional houses, and they blend seamlessly with the surrounding architecture.
Djerbahood is definitely a unique and fascinating place to experience street art. The artworks are colorful and creative, and they offer a glimpse into the diverse cultures of the artists who created them. The museum is also a great way to learn about the history and culture of Djerba.
Djerba is home the largest crocodile farm in North Africa. The ‘Djerba Explore’ crocodile farm was established in 1994 and is the largest crocodile farm in North Africa. In addition to viewing the crocodiles, visitors can learn about the life cycle of the crocodile, its natural habitat, and its importance in African culture.
The farm also features a small museum that showcases the history of crocodile farming in Tunisia, as well as a gift shop where visitors can purchase souvenirs and handicrafts made by local artisans.
In addition to its educational and cultural value, the Djerba Crocodile Farm is also an important conservation project. Crocodile populations in Africa have declined in recent years due to habitat loss, hunting, and other factors, and the farm works to promote the conservation of these animals through breeding programs and other initiatives.
Home to some unique ecological reserves such as the Flamingo island. Also known as Ras Rmal, it is a unique and special destination located off the coast of the main Djerba island.
What makes it stand out is its large population of pink flamingos that can be seen wading in the shallow waters surrounding the island. This rare sight attracts birdwatchers and nature lovers from all over the world. In addition, Ras Rmal boasts beautiful natural surroundings with crystal-clear waters, a stunning coral reef, and a variety of other bird species and wildlife.
There’s an ancient Roman road that links the island with mainland Tunisia. It is a 7.5-kilometer-long Roman road that connects the island of Djerba to the mainland of Tunisia. It was built by the Romans in the 2nd century AD and is one of the best-preserved Roman roads in North Africa.
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