Djerba – Le Film – Candidate à l’inscription sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO

Djerba – Le Film – Candidate à l’inscription sur la liste du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO


An island out of time Eternal heaven to minorities a unique settlement pattern and so many treasures to preserve I’m Aziza Ben Tanfous Descendant of the Tnefsa family And I represent the fifth generation since the construction of this Menzel I initially lived in Tunis but then I came to Djerba in the 80s in the early 80s this Menzel was nearly in ruins and Djerba still had its traditional way of life. Only afterwards did we have water
and electricity everywhere on the island I’m Farhat Ben Tanfous I was born in Tunis in 1971 I came here when I was two months old and has been living here since. The land use in Djerba is neither urban nor rural. Its city-like neighborhoods are both separate and interconnected and the way people have been living here is truly exceptional. Said Ben Youssef Ben Mohamed Al Barouni. I was born on March 25, 1949 Native of Djerba and Researcher in Djerbian history. I am interested in everything related to Djerba. Houcine Tobji a researcher in urban planning and djerbian history When they created this land-use system… the Djerbians had to face a series of constraints: water scarcity, security concerns as well as the need for a fair distribution of land… among the community. The Djerbian Menzel is made of two vital components a large area for agriculture and a housing area found at the heart of the Menzel. The Djerbian “Hoosh” (housing area) is a kind of fortress… It can be compared to a tower that has living quarters, a lower floor and a room that also serves as an observatory. There is one entrance that leads to a big central courtyard. It also has an agricultural vocation thanks to its barn, its Reyah (a crop threshing area) and, of course, its well. All these components constitute the basics of the Djerbian way of life. but one of the most important installations remains the fountain Djerba has always been known for its aridity hence the presence of the fountain and the rainwater tank. The composition of this Djerbian Hoosh
and its agricultural and defensive nature makes it unique in Tunisia and perhaps even in the world. The defensive component of the Menzel has been strengthened
over the years by two essential elements: The “Tabyas”, those natural, thorny, four meters high separations. And the connection between Menzels by narrow sandy roads… intentionally narrow, designed as disconcerting mazes. Thus, each Menzel was a virtually impregnable defensive link. One after another, after another… separated by “Tabyas” and the social life between these entities was governed by the separations created to ensure the quiet life of each member of the community. This way of settling protected the island
and all those who took refuge in it… When Muslims and Jews were expelled from Andalusia following the Reconquista, many of them came to Djerba. Therefore, we have Muslims, Jews and Christians from Malta, as well as Romans, Greeks, etc…. The multitude of mosques, the synagogue, the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church have been preserved until now… and to these days,
all these religious communities have lived peacefully. Another factor of religious diversity is the presence of the Ibadi and Maliki Muslims. For centuries, the different doctrines have coexisted peacefully without succumbing to the doctrinal conflicts commonly found in the East. This island in the Mediterranean is very special. It’s like a desert but there are resources and it is interesting how
men have adapted to this conformation in a very particular way… we live together, we buy, we sell, we take part in each other’s life. And when there is a celebration
for one of these three religions. We’re all involved. It is especially visible during the famous
Ghriba festival in which we all take part It is a celebration for us all. It’s not at the institutional level
but really more at the concrete level: a person-to-person, human-to-human relationship… with our respective differences
and the resources we all possess… I have been in charge of El Ghriba for about 22 years. The Temple is approximately 2600 years old. Its builders carried a stone from Jerusalem… and that stone has been
in a special room where we pray ever since. We only open that room during the annual pilgrimage ceremonies. Safeguarding this stone from Solomon’s temple… is the very reason why El Ghriba was built. Each year we have two pilgrimages: the night of Rabbi Meyer and the night of Rabbi Shem’un. and on both occasions,
we welcome Jews from all over the world. The person who handed over this responsibility to me trusted me to ensure the continuity and we all need to ensure that continuity. So Djerba is a model a paradigm of coexistence between religions and people and as is all human reality, it is fragile. There aren’t many of us left in this line of work… and traditional fishing methods,
using “Zraieb”, are now under the threat of extinction. Young people are no longer
taking over to preserve this fishing method there are only a few of us left and we do it solely out of passion or to please our fathers and
grandfathers and ensure continuity. I guess I’m going to walk away from it once I’m older. I’m one of the last traditional fishermen which means that this
traditional fishery is currently in peril of extinction. My father taught me this trade when I was 10 or 12 years old… he told me that even
if I wanted to do something else with my life… I first had to learn this trade and I have done the same with my children… regardless of their respective ambitions and professions. I told them, “learn and leave it aside.”
You must master this art for it is the legacy of our forefathers… We have inherited this profession for generations… I learned it from my father, who learned it from his father… When you walk into a workshop such as this one What you find there is a place
that has at least 320 or 330 years of history made entirely from clay and home to the history of an entire dynasty of weavers. I do not want this old craft to die… That’s truly all I hope for. I wasn’t really aware of the uniqueness of this heritage… Of course, I did participate in its conservation and restoration but it was totally by accident I didn’t realize its importance. We were on a vacation here for a few days and we stumbled into this house… there was a conjunction of particular sensations, the sunshine, the kindness of the people, the Zen nature of the place… we couldn’t resist the urge to buy the house. Once we returned to Belgium,
people thought we had all gone mad… This allowed us to get in touch with the nature of Djerba, with its architecture and since I’m an architect myself, I was quite sensitive to the different ways
of building and the different styles to adopt and it is this diversity that is recreated here in an authentic house with its very own identity… that makes it truly unique. The more the support, the stronger its chances will be Sign the Golden Book at Candidate for UNESCO’s World Heritage Status

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