I didn’t expect that there would be so much to see on Djerba Island. I was lucky to have the manager of the Iberostar Mehari Hotel, Anis Chemli, recommend a guide, Marhag Lotfi (shown above) to take me around the Island by taxi to visit many places over about five and half hours. He was an excellent guide, explaining many things about the island, its culture, customs and history. He was also very good at taking some creative photos of me as we toured around, so I will share those as well.
Our first stop was the Borj El Ghazi Mustapha, a fort just outside Houmet Souk near the fishing port. It was first built in the 13th century over the ruins of an ancient Roman city. It was given its present configuration by a Spanish garrison of 6,000 soldiers in 1560. The Spanish soldiers were exterminated by the Turks in the same year. Like most countries at that time, there were many battles and hostile takeovers.
Visiting the nearby fishing port is a real cultural experience, as well as fishing for many varieties of fish, fisherman here also fish for octopus using special pots, once the octopus is inside the pot the octopus can’t get out. The fisherman sets many of his pots in the sea for some time then pulls the pots back into his boat using a special hook. Every pot has the fisherman’s mark on it so it won’t get mixed up with others.
Nearby the fort and fishing port I had the good fortune to see pink flamingoes, lucky because they will be soon migrating away from Djerba. They stay on Djerba for the winter months from about October to sometime in February.
Erriadh is located in the centre of Djerba Island where Muslims, Jews and Christians (a minority) live side by side comfortably in this small, traditional village. The village is known for the famous nearby synagogue, Ghriba, and also for the 2014 project, Djerbahood, which involved artists from all over the world coming to Erriadh to paint 250 wall murals throughout the village.
The traditional village of Erriadh and its wall murals:
The nearby Ghriba synagogue is a site where Jewish people make pilgrimages to. It is the oldest synagogue in Tunisia and much revered by Jewish people.
We happened upon this colourful market, just outside of Erriadh.