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Jerba's landscape is so striking and unusual that George Lucas famously filmed scenes from the first Star Wars movie there. Indeed, the feel of the place is almost alien: stark white houses and buildings; endless, unspoilt sands; and the blaring sunlight that sets everything in full relief. Indeed, Lucas was so taken with the place that ended up incorporating many local place names into the movie. Tatooine is a settlement in Jerba as well as the planet where Luke Skywalker is born. The name Jerba is the name of an animal in Star Wars.
Jerba used to be a small epicenter of Jewish culture, although many Jews have since emigrated to other countries. Jews traveling from Jerusalem after the destruction of the first Temple are reputed to have settled in Jerba. One of the oldest Torahs in existence is located in the El Ghriba synagogue in Hara Seghira, southeast of Houmt Souk.
Jerba is also a center of the al-Ibadiyya Islamic sect, one of the oldest Islamic sects in the world. Mostly a conservative people, Ibadis constitute a majority of Islamists in only one country, Oman.