The Ghazi Mustapha fort is located in Houmt Souk, near the main port of Djerba Island. This monument, 68 meters long and 53 meters wide, was built during the Hafsid period, in 1425 under the aegis of Abu Fares Abdelaziz.
Its curtain walls, surrounded by a moat, are crisscrossed with projections and rectangular and round towers. The fort is acceded via a large double door surmounted by a semi-circular arch. Then, an L-shaped gangway leads to a large courtyard with the remains of walls, vaulted rooms, and the remains of another fort, 40 meters long and 40 meters wide. The latter is, in terms of shape and architecture, reminiscent of the Aghlabid ribats, with round tank-towers on one side and octagonal ones on the other. It was at the same time that the moat surrounding the monument was dug, allowing galleys and galleons to operate easily to keep watch on the northern coast.
Ghazi Mustapha Fort has been the scene of several battles, the last of which was the decisive defeat of the Turks by the Spaniards.
In 1567, the governor of the island, named Ghazi Mustapha, who was administratively dependent on the province (vilayit) of Tripoli, began a series of repair and restoration works to allow the Ottoman garrison to take up residence there.
This monument had undergone many alterations, the most important of which the construction of an access gate topped by machicolations and fortified by a watchtower, thus replacing the drawbridge.
The fort was also provided with platforms to receive the cannons and its outer walls were consolidated with retaining walls.
The famous Skulls Tower, built during the same period, was a "monument" intended to celebrate and immortalize the last victory of the Turks over the Spaniards in 1560. On the orders of Ahmed Bey, this tower was dismantled and replaced by a dressed stone remembrance stele.
The fort continued to be used as a base to guard against dangers from the sea and especially from the dreaded pirates of St John of Malta and St Stephen. It was in this context that the inhabitants of Djerba started to fortify mosques and to build guard posts on the coast.
It was not until 1915 that the Ghazi Mustapha fort was cleared of French soldiers, who had occupied it since 1881 and classified as a historical monument as per a Bey decree dated March 3rd of the same year.
Following the first restoration work begun in 1969 by the National Institute of Art and Archaeology, the monument was opened to the public for the first time in the early 1980s.
The Borj Ghazi Mustapha now houses the local headquarters of the National Heritage Institute, which is in charge of archaeological research as well as restoration and enhancement of the region's heritage.