Djerbahood - Atlas Obscura


Hara Sghira Er Riadh, Tunisia

An awesome blend of traditional architecture and street art. 


Djerba is an island off the Tunisian coast best known for its white beaches and tourist resorts. It is, therefore, not surprising that most developments took place along the coastline, while life in the interior of Djerba can still aptly be described as rustic. 

Palm and olive trees dominate the inland landscape, but there is no shortage of vineyards, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens, and now and then, a whitewashed village. Er Riadh was one of these villages—charming but unremarkable. That was until 2014, when an art gallery owner Mehdi Ben Cheikh offered to turn the village into an open-air museum.

Mehdi Ben Cheikh named the project “Djerbahood,” inspired by a Hollywood-like sign spelling out “THE HOOD” installed by French artist Rodolphe Cintorino at the entrance of Er Riadh. Two hundred street artists from 30 different countries were invited to participate in “Djerbahood.” The aim was to blend street art with the traditional architecture of the village to create a unique experience. Villagers who “donated” walls to the project ended up with colorful murals. By the end of the event, 250 murals appeared on buildings scattered throughout the village. 

As the years pass, the murals inevitably lost some brightness, but retain their charm. Some murals depict exquisitely intricate geometric patterns, while others resemble well-designed caricatures. Some capture colorful aspects of traditional life in Djerba, while others border on surreal art. The size, themes, and styles vary immensely from one to the next, but they all blend in perfectly with the urban space they are embedded. 

The best way to visit “Djerbahood” is to meander through the village and discover spectacular new pieces of art at each turn. 

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February 16, 2024

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