The Fadhloun Mosque
Jerba
 
 


This is one of the strangest and most surprising monuments, not only of the island of Jerba but of all Tunisia’s ancient architectural heritage. Seen from afar, in the Jerbian “countryside”, it has the harmonious appearance of the island’s religious monuments; but from close up its peculiar layout is somewhat surprising.

The XIVth century monument, consists of three parts:
• a prayer room standing in the middle of a closed courtyard, its floor covered with a lime-based cladding
• inside ancillary rooms including a main room that was devoted to teaching of the Koran, flanked by two small rooms, one was a bedroom and the other a storeroom for food supplies;
• Outbuildings including an ablutions room and a Koranic school, on the other side of which was a grain mill and an underground bakery!

The massive prayer room with a squat minaret, its external walls reinforced with buttresses, betrays military connections: the Fadhloun mosque was part of a chain of mosques not far from the coast that formed a second line of defence in case of enemy attack.

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