Djerba (Tunisia) – Izz al-Din bin Jaqoub prefers to live in hosh at the “guest house” on the island of Djerba instead of going to his luxury lodges on its shores, whenever he is on vacation or on a business trip from Paris, where live. .
As noise and traffic pressure prevailed on part of the island due to seasonal religious celebrations at the Ghariba Synagogue, calm pervaded the corners of the guest house located in the Riyadh region, where Jewish and Muslim families live next door.
Al-Hosh Al-Jerbi is characterized by a special charm as it dedicates to the privacy of the region in the way of life, food, drinks and lifestyle.
“In this country you find comfort and peace,” says Ezz El-Din, who works as a promoter of cultural and sporting events. You can feel the originality of the building and the cultural character in every corner, but at the same time it is a complete luxury. ”
The three-star house has 16 classic rooms, including family rooms. It is the only hotel in the “Riyadh” area. Today, it is owned by her Italian manager, Chiara El Alani, and her husband, Tunisian businessman Salah El Alani, who renovated and opened it in 2000. The house reflects one of the plans announced by the government in the beginning. . of this century to boost investment in the tourism sector on the island, and is one of dozens of traditional houses called. There is “Al-Hosh Al-Jabi” which has been turned into miniature hotel residences.
These houses are characterized by a special beauty, as they dedicate the privacy of the region to the way of life, food and drink and lifestyle.
In addition to the cultural and religious diversity surrounding the guest house in the Riyadh region, it is possible to clearly see inside the house the architectural mix, which represents a mix of the island’s Berber architecture, Islamic immigrants and Moors.
Azzedine says: “Here is the homeland of the Jew, the Muslim, the Berber, the Maltese, the French, the Italians, the Carthaginians, the Romans and many others. We should be proud of that. “
Two large urns in front of the hotel entrance, and the first-time visitor must cut the narrow corridors between his rooms and the open living rooms of their local architecture and furnished with Bedouin furniture, until they reach the courtyard of the house where the pool is surrounded by tables. This “courtyard” of the inn dates back to the early twentieth century, investors have preserved its original appearance, but the interior corridors have been added to give more privacy to the rooms.
“People come from all over the world, from Libya, the United States, Japan, Latin America, European countries, the Gulf countries and Pakistan,” says the employee in charge of managing the hotel. “Jewish visitors come to the strange synagogue celebrations from all over the world, but the hotel does not cater to a certain category of tourists.” The Al-Dar restaurant serves dishes from Tunisian and local dishes, as well as dishes from the Mediterranean, based mainly on seafood and meat.
To maintain the attractiveness of the house throughout the year, it is periodically subjected to maintenance work to prevent the penetration of moisture from the shores of the island.
Hussein al-Tabji, a scholar specializing in the heritage of Jarba Island, says: “Al-Hosh Al-Jerbi was known for his authenticity because he responded to the needs of the family in its relationship with nature and the sky. He was also known for his innovation in terms of his architecture.
One of the features of Al-Hosh Al-Jerbi is that it is built of local stones and materials and its circular shape, like a fortress, allows cold air to be drawn between its corners during the great heat that surrounds the island during the summer. . , and maintain warmth in winter.Joint lunch, barbecuing or banquets.
“The nature of the construction in Al-Hosh contributed to the cohesion of the family, as it is in harmony with the climate of the island of Djerba and has the advantage of natural air conditioning by adopting complex physical criteria,” Al-Tobji said.
Usually, Al-Hosh Al-Jerbi is not located in the city center, but is widespread in the countryside and farms in large areas, and its location is accompanied by palm trees and olive groves. Each monster bears a family title.
Architect Anwar bin Moaiez says: “The building has relied since ancient times on materials available on the island, such as steel, pine and wood extracted from olive trees.”
For all its vast fame, Al-Hosh Al-Jerbi is no longer attractive to the inhabitants of the island, which is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. Along the way, at the entrance to the island, European-style villas can be seen, while traditional courtyards are rarely seen.
Ben Moez explains, “Since the 1960s, the demand for Al-Hosh Al-Jerbi has decreased due to the development of lifestyles and the influx of contemporary construction methods.”
He continued, “What has happened since that date is that many of the yards have been damaged and collapsed, either due to legal complications related to the inheritance or as a result of negligence and lack of periodic maintenance.”
However, some on the island are still caught up in the “hosh”, especially those who emigrated to work in the north of the country in the capital or in one of the European countries.
Ben Moez says, “Mostly participation is limited to yard construction. “Some return to this house out of nostalgia, while others prefer the old traditional building with a modern touch to continue to embrace the courtyard.”
Meanwhile, activists and civil society associations on the island are working to prepare a dossier to include Djerba Island in the World Heritage List. Al-Hawash, as a material cultural heritage, is one of the pillars of this dossier.