Mini guide to Mahdia
Located on Tunisia's eastern coastline, Mahdia has quite a history beneath its
beautiful façade. It is strikingly well preserved considering its prime
location and the array of historical sites, resorts and beaches nearby.
The main historic attraction in town is the Central Mosque, rebuilt on the
same site where the 10th century original was destroyed by Spanish troops in
1554. It stands mighty within the old town, and is guarded by the Skifa el-Kahla,
a massive gate which is the only remaining structure of the original city. Stepping
through the gate is like stepping back in time, and the Central Mosque is the
timeless jewel within.
This interior area of the city, the medina, is a splendid area to explore.
For the best views of the city, climb to the crest of the city gate. The main
street is lined mainly with souvenir vendors, and continues down to the place
du Caire, a lovely green surrounded by shaded cafés and the perfect place
to stop for a rest. There is a minaret on the far side of the square which is
worth a look; afterwards, follow rue Ali Bay east as the unmistakable Central
Mosque comes into view. On the far eastern side of the medina are sights including:
the 16th century fortress, Borj el-Kebir; a lighthouse that once served the
old port; and a sailors' cemetery.
There is a comfortable distance between town and the beachside resorts which
allows both to retain their identities. The local museum has a nice collection
of artefacts and plenty of information about the town's history of weaving.
Fine dining recommendations include Le Lido, Neptune and L'Espadon restaurants.
In nearby Monastir, the mausoleum built by the former president Habib Bourgiba
is an impressive sight. The town also has a well-maintained beach and a top
class marina. Farther north, Sousse features a beautiful medina and a huge 9th
century mosque. Sousse also offers a nice, low pressure shopping environment.
Mahdia can be reached from Tunis, Monastir or Sousse, by local train (quite
slow), taxi or bus. The train from Tunis takes 3 hours, 30 minutes; while the
one from Monastir takes less than an hour. The main airports for international
flights are Tunis-Carthage, Monastir and Jerba.
Selection of hotels in this region:
Click below for a
full list of hotels and online booking