Borj El Ghazi Mustapha, also called Borj El Kebir (arabic : البرج الكبير),located next to the port of Houmt Souk, it is the largest and best preserved fort on the island of Djerba in Tunisia. It is one of its most visited historic sites.
The name of Borj El Ghazi Mustapha comes from the name of the man installed in Djerba in 1559 by Dragut. This caïd enlarges and consolidates the fort during the XVIth century and gives the building its current architecture. Moreover, a marble stele relating to these works, originally sealed in one of the interior walls of the entrance to the fort, is currently on display at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis.
The fort is located on the coast 500 meters north of Houmt Souk, adjoining its fishing port.
Borj El Kebir was built around 1392 on the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Girba (current Houmt Souk), whose remains are re-used in the construction of the structure, following the expulsion of the soldiers of Alphonse V of Aragon and according to the orders of the Hafsid sultan of Tunis to house his garrison. Around 1450, it underwent extensions.
On March 11, 1560, following a defeat, it was offered by Sheikh Messaoud, placed at the head of the island, to the Viceroy of Sicily, Juan de la Cerda, who did not keep it long : the fort was besieged a few months later, between May 11 and July 29, by the privateer Dragut supported by Piyale Pacha, the assault made between 5,000 and 6,000 dead ; this is how the famous battle of Djerba takes place at the northern end of the site. Privateers and pirates then made Borj El Kebir their landmark for several centuries. Between 1560 and 1567, the caid Ghazi Mustapha Bey, installed by Dragut to make the island a naval base, completes the redevelopment work undertaken by Juan de la Cerda’s expedition, including the addition of apartments and a small mosque.
During the protectorate, it was in the fort that, on July 28, 1881, French troops settled after taking the island. In 1903, it passed into the hands of the Tunisian authorities. A year later, on March 15, 1904, it acquired the status of a historic monument and then underwent restoration and museum development.
It currently houses two zaouïas, those of Sidi Saâd and Ghazi Mustapha, dedicated to Ghazi Mustapha Bey.Content subject to license CC-BY-SA. Source : Article Borj El Kebir de Wikipédia (authors)
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