Djerba Island covers an area of 514 sq. km and is the largest island in northern Africa. Situated in the Gulf of Gabes, off the coast of Tunisia, the island is 120 km away from the Libyan border and is surrounded by the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Traveling to Djerba Island
Getting to Djerba is quite easy as the island has its own international airport. There are regular flights from Europe. The island itself is connected to the mainland by an ancient Roman causeway. It is believed that the lotophagi (lotus-eaters) lived here. The lotophagi have been depicted by the poet in his “Odyssey“. The legend says it was Odysseus and his crew that landed on this coast and enjoyed the relaxing effect of the lotus fruit.
Djerba’s main city is called Houmt-Souk and its population is around 70,000 people. The island is also known to be the home of the most ancient synagogue El Ghriba that is 26 centuries old.
History of Djerba Island
As far as history goes, it was the Carthaginians that were the first to establish trading relationships with Djerba in the 8th century BC. It was the Romans, however, that placed the foundations of the trading post- Meninx in the 2nd century BC. The island has been invaded many times by Arabs, Berbers, Sicilians and the Spanish. They all seek to establish control over the fertile lands of Djerba. It was in 1881 that the French overpowered a significant part of the island as part of a deal with the British. Under French ruling, the locals have been truly protected by their enemies.
An interesting fact is that the island’s construction of high buildings is prohibited. As far as architecture goes most of the hotels are built in the traditional style of local homes – square white buildings with domed roofs. This type of construction is emphasizing on how much the people in Djerba are respectful towards traditions.
Star Wars Film Locations
The island is famous for among tourists with its town Ajim that was used in 1977 as the settings for Mos Eisley, the home of Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars.