Borj el Kebir and the Fatimid Port

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The views of Mahdia from along the south coast are dominated by Borj el Kebir. This is built towards the tip of the peninsula with the remains of the ancient Punic settlement, overgrown with yellow daisies beside it. It is surrounded by an extensive old cemetery of white gravestones.

It was built in 1595 on the the site of the Fatimid palace above old port. Corner bastions were added in the 18thC.

The walls are massive and originally there was a single entrance. A second entrance was added later in SW bastion.

Entry to the fort is through the gateway which has a small ticket office. (5TD +1TD photo permit.) This leads into a long corridor with smaller vaults off it and into a big courtyard. The commandants quarters were above the gateway. There is a walkway round the top of walls which give good views down onto the small Fatimid port which is a small square area with two small channels to the open sea.

This could accommodate 30 ships. There are the remains of the towers on either side of each entrance which had chains suspended between them to control entry into port. There are also fragments of the defensive wall to the south.

The small lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula is operated by the military.

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