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Review: Fortified Mosques

Attraction - Others

Dwejra, Tunisia

Interesting buildings but closed to non-Muslim

  • By SilverTraveller ESW

    2341 reviews

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  • 2012
  • Husband

29 people found this review helpful

The fortified mosques are unique to Djerba. Constant fear of attack meant that they were built with a strong defensive wall round them. In the setting sin the walls glow golden.



Non Muslims are not allowed into the mosques so they all have to be admired from outside the wall and all you can see is the top of the minaret. Fadloune mosque listed in guide books as open for tourists is no longer. There are the usual signs outside saying 'not open to non Muslims’ and the doors are locked. This seems to have been shut after the Jasmine Revolution. The only unlocked door led into the room where a dead body was washed on a board before being wrapped in a white shroud and taken on the wooden bier to the cemetery. The Imam’s house outside wall of mosque had smaller Mosque attached to it.



For photographs head to El Kebir, on the outskirts of Melita. There is a big bank outside the courtyard wall which can be climbed for views into the courtyard. The Mosque is in the centre of the courtyard which has cisterns beneath it. These provide water for use in the ceremonial washroom in a small building in the courtyard. A small stone shelter is used by the Imam when leading prayers in the courtyard. Around the walls are small rooms used for teaching the Koran.



Other fortified mosques include the Mosque of Um Etturka in El-May, Sidi Jimour Mosque on the west coast and and the old mosque by the sea in Guellala.



Just south east of Guellala on the coast is the very old Mosque of Sidi Yati. It is reached by a rough track off the main road. It is a whitewashed building surrounded by trees. A very weathered sign outside the wall says the mosque “was established by Shiek Yati Mestaoui during the 3rd century of the higare accordant 9thC Christian” The mosque is no longer used so we went through the doorway in the wall surrounding a courtyard enclosing the four domed mosque and a smaller building.

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