The menzel <\/em>(parcel of land), a key component of traditional Djerban society, functions as a familial heritage plot with a houch<\/em> (main residence) augmented by a central courtyard, small guest house, farmhouse, well, irrigation system, threshing floor, date palms, and olive tree groves in various combinations. The houch<\/em>, typically resembling a single-story whitewashed square fortress with a domed kouchk <\/em>(tower) at each corner, is divided into large sections, each occupied by separate units of an extended family. The parents of each section sleep in their respective tower, the only part of the houch <\/em>with external windows facing the courtyard. The traditional well is flanked by two upright supports for a system of pulleys operated by camel or mule. Menzel<\/em> complexes were purposely spread out rather than grouped together in compact villages to add a layer of protection against marauding tribes and invaders in ancient times.<\/p>\n"}