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Houmt Souk is the main town of the island of Djerba. There was no city here originally, the marketplace of the island received place here merely.
The settlement altogether hardly one and a half kilometres long, but in the knowledge of the diverse history of Djerba , in sights is rich. Most of the residents speak French as fluently as Arabic.
More ancient monuments are waiting for you: Sidi Zitoun mausoleum, the Strangers' Mosque and Houmt Souk historical fortress Borj Ghazi Mustapha, also known as Borj el-Kebir; the Romans built the building yet, then the Aragonian king took possession of it, but extended in the 16th by the Spanish. It is possible to get into the bastion fortress on a bridge built up in the 19. century, from the top there is a beautiful view of the bay.
The picturesque and labyrinthine bazaar is full of violent but kind vendors. Market days are held two times weekly, in front of the Strangers' Mosque on Mondays and Thursdays; you can buy typical Djerbian woollen blankets woven since the time of Hannibal (usually red, in traditional geometric patterns) here.
You may get jewels including the magic talisman Hand of Fatma, leather goods and beautiful carpets at a good price. Here is also possible to bargain, but you have to know, that most merchandise is made in factories already today and mainly designed to cater for tourists.
Updated Jan 25, 2009
Address: Houmt Souk – Djerba
The name Guellala means “strange death,” which came from a legend of killing somebody by a stone. There are said to be some 450 potters in this tiny village, the center for the hand manufacture of exquisite ceramics ("les Dieux de l’Argile"!!!).
If you are interested in ceranics, you should visit at least one of their workshops. These are the only places in the whole country, where can be introduced, how genuine ceramic was made in the time of King Midas.
The clay used by the potters is mixed with water - fresh water for red pottery, salt water for white. The pottery has to dry for two months before fired for four days in kilns, where it remains for another ten days to cool gradually.
The main attraction in the main street is the only souvenir stall, where you can bargain for good pottery vessels. Another speciality of these artisans are the magic camel mugs. A jug looks like a camel's head with hole in the bottom and the top, which do not let out water. You fill water into one of the holes, turn the jug, and no water leak out.
There is also a museum located somewhat outside of the actual village. This museum is really worth seeing with attached café/restaurant, a small art gallery, a minaret and naturally sufficient place for the mandatory stands for souvernirs of all kinds. It enjoys large popularity also among Tunisian visitors of the mainland.
Updated Jan 22, 2009
Address: Guellala – Djerba
For people fascinated by funny creatures, next to the lighthouse on the way to Midoun the Farm of Crocodiles is the place for a frightening encounter.
In a great park, constructed like a traditional village you can find the farm, home to hundreds of "man-eater" Nile River crocodiles, that at full growth can be as long as 5 - 6 metres! Crocodiles seem to be rather lazy creatures, but in the time of feeding they can move as speedy as lightning, to catch their food!!
The spectacular sights of these sunning creatures with their jaws opened, guarantee, you will remember Djerba for the rest of your lives.
Except the farm, I have not visited other sites of the park, because I was told, this artificial village is nothing else, than a real tourist trap.
Updated Jan 22, 2009
Address: Djerba Explore Park
Phone: (+ 216) 75 745 277
The La Ghriba ("Wonderworking") synagogue is the oldest one in the world, dating from around the time of the second temple in Jerusalem, but the present buildings are not older than cca. a century.
Legend about its foundation says, that the site was chosen when a "holy stone" ( a meteorite? ) fell from the sky here. It is believed that the inner sanctuary preserves the oldest Torahs scrolls.
But the community itself is also one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, dates its arrival after Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem.
The Synagogue can be visited by the non-Jews too, but they should take off their shoes, wear a head covering and leave a small gift on their visit.
In 2002 a sadly accident happened here, when a gas lorry crashed into the building, the explosion caused the death of twenty-one men, among them tourists'.
Updated Jan 16, 2009
Address: Er Riadh – Djerba
On 21 December 2002 a new crocodile park opened within the cultural and tourist complex called “Djerba Explore”. The 6000m2 park, dedicated exclusively to crocodiles, is home to a group of 400 Nile crocodiles ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 m in length. These crocodiles arrived in Tunisia in December 1998 from a farm in Madagascar. Crocodiles are rather lazy, they don’t like to waste their energy but everything changes when the time of feeding comes. In summer they are fed every day.
Entrance fee: 12 dinar
Updated Oct 7, 2008
Real Jerban life is not really on display in Midoun the town with +/-15.000 INH. It is situated near the Zone touristique. Visitors can buy everything they want and don’t want to buy in fairly ordinary souvenir shops. Some of the old life returns on Fridays, which is market day. You can reach Midoun by taxi from the zone touristique for 2/5 dinar.
Updated Sep 27, 2008
Unfortunately, I didn't get any information on this fort. All I can tell you is that it's near the harbor in Houmt Souk and it costs 3 Dinar to enter. All the information on the fort is in French and Arabic.
Written Jan 9, 2008
Located in Hara Seghira, this synagogue site is about 2,000 years old, making it the oldest synagogue in Africa and one of the oldest in the world.
They said this synagogue is home to the oldest Torah in the world.
According to an oral tradition, it was built by Jewish priests who had immigrated after the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem. The present building dates from the 19th century and replaces one built in the 16th century.
Written Jan 8, 2008
You can find a lot of information on Tunisian culture at this large museum on top of a hill overlooking the town of Guellala. It's worth about a 2-hour visit to really appreciate everything they've put together.
All displays have explanations in Arabic, French, German and English.
Entrance fee is 6 Dinar.
Updated Jan 7, 2008
This beautiful museum is situated on a little hill, so you when you get up there, you can have an amazing view of the island and the sea. The building itself is really stunning, and inside you can find hisotry museum od Djerba. They have whole Tunisian wedding ceremony shown in statues, camels, men whisc writes in caligraphy and can write you a name or sthg, and a little coffie house with best coffie and fresh orange juice in Djerba.
Written Aug 13, 2007
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