Mahdia Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by katalin
  • Things to Do
    by katalin
  • Things to Do
    by katalin

Most Recent Things to Do in Mahdia

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    Fatimid Port

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 1, 2008

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    On the southern coast of the peninsula is the remains of the Old Harbour which was used by the Fatimid's. It measures 126m (138yds) by 57m (62yds) and may have been used by the Romans. The narrow entrance channel, 15m (16yds) long, was protected by two Fatimid watch-towers which were incorporated in the town walls and were later linked by an arch.

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    Fatimid Fortifications

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 1, 2008

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    Dotted on the southern side of the peninsula are the remains of the original Fatimid walls that were built during the 10th century. To get some idea of how they and the rest of Mahdia would have looked, head to the museum beside the Skifa el-Khala and walk up to the first floor where there's a reconstruction plan.

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    Ruins by castle

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 1, 2008

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    Just to the west (medina side) of the Borj el-Kebir lie these ruins, of what I don't know. You can walk around then but watch where you're walking as there are some large holes which could've been wells as well as steep banks.

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    Borj el-Kebir

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 1, 2008

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    This massive square fortress, built in 1595, is commandingly situated on the highest point on the peninsula. It was built on the site of a palace built by Mahdia's founder, Obaid Allah el Mahdi in the 10th century. In the courtyard of the fortress is a small mosque. In the masonry of the tower at the southwest corner are two reliefs which are believed to have come from an earlier building.

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    Great Mosque

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 1, 2008

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    The Great Mosque was built in 921 AD by the founder of the town, Obaid Allah el Mahdi. It was the first Fatimid mosque modeled on the Sidi Oqba Mosque in Kairouan. It was connected on two sides with the town walls and when these were blown up by the Spaniards the mosque too was destroyed with the exception of the north front. A temporary building was erected to replace it but this was found to be in danger of collapse and was pulled down in the 1960s. The Great Mosque was carefully rebuilt on its old site in accordance with the original plans. The inner courtyard, 42m (138ft) by 50m (164ft) is surrounded on three sides by a colonnade with horseshoe arches. The nine-aisled prayer hall, three bays deep, has the same ground-plan as its prototype in Kairouan. The central aisle leading to the mihrab is wider than the other eight. The bay in front of the mihrab is crowned by a dome.

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    Medina

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 1, 2008

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    Mahdia's medina is pretty small and fairly quiet. Most of its shops are located along Rue Ali Bey which is the main street that leads from the Skifa el-Khala. The shops are the usual tourist ones you'll find all over Tunisia. If you continue to walk towards the lighthouse you'll then find yourself in the narrow streets where there are some nice houses with nice doors.

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    Museum

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 1, 2008

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    Next to the Skifa el-Khala is a good museum that exhibits local finds in the area plus 3rd century AD mosaics and marble statues from El-Jem, pottery, oil lamps that once illuminated the corridors of the colossum at El-Jem, costumes, textile looms and French blanket boxes. Ask inside the museum to gain access to the rooftop of the Skifa el-Khala and someone will show you the way and give you a guided tour and history of the town. More photo's can be found in my travelogues.

    Admission: TD4 plus TD1 for camera.

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    Views from Skifa el-Khala

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 1, 2008

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    From the roof of the gatehouse there are fine views of the Medina, extending to the tip of the peninsula, the modern harbour and, to the southwest, the new town. Ask inside the museum, which is located next door to the gatehouse, to gain access and someone will take you up there. A guy took me and said that he was an archaeologist and told me the history of the gatehouse and town.

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    Skifa el-Kahla

    by Willettsworld Written Mar 1, 2008

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    The entrance to the old town of Mahdia is through the town gate, the Skifa el Kahla (Black Gate) or Bab Zouila. The gatehouse with its 44m (144ft) long entrance passage was formerly incorporated in the 11m (36ft) thick wall, 175m (190yds) long, which crossed the peninsula. The present gate is not the original Fatimid structure but was rebuilt in 1554 after the destruction of Mahdia by the Spaniards, using stone from the Fatimid fortress. It's possible to climb to the roof of the gate if you ask inside the museum which is located next door.

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    More Fatimid remains

    by maykal Written Nov 21, 2007
    My guides around the ruins, Mahdia
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    Opposite the entrence to the Borj el Kebir, local kids may beckon you over to explore the ruins of...well, I'm not quite sure what. Whether palace, brothel or grainstore, they're not very impressive, but worth a wander, if only to chat to the kids and the old women who take their sheep for walks on this ruin-strewn patch of grass. There is a gate, which looks as if it might be there for a purpose, but nobody takes much notice of it, so wander in at will.

    The two kids in my photo were keen to show me around, although neither could tell me anymore about the history than the sheep could. They did talk a lot though, and unusually for a tourist site, seemed to want to talk rather than ask for cadeaux or un stilo or des bonbons. No doubt the old woman tending the sheep could have known something about the ruins, but she was a bit shy and did not want to chatter with the likes of me.

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    Fatimid Port and Lighthouse (Cap d'Afrique)

    by maykal Written Nov 21, 2007
    Fatimid Port, cemetery and Borj el Kebir, Mahdia
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    Past the Borj, several paths will take you around the headland, called Cap d'Afrique. Through the cemetery, you'll first pass the ruins of a Fatimid port, now used as a harbour by a few tiny fishing boats. A pile of bricks here and a clump of ruins there declare that there was once something more here, but now the place is overrun with sheep, local kids (who dive off the piles and clumps into the sea) and camera-toting lobsters on day release from the zone touristique. Don't let that put you off, as it is a picturesque place to spend an hour or two.

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    Cemetery

    by maykal Written Nov 21, 2007
    Cemetery, Mahdia
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    Surrounding the Borj el Kebir, Mahdia's cemetery would certainly be a stunning place to decompose. In summer, it may seem a bit hot and dusty, but in springtime the white gravestones contrast with lush green grass and bright yellow dandelions, with an azure sea as a backdrop. Judging by the empty drinks cans and the sheep droppings, it is a favourite location for both picnics and grazing.

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    Borj el Kebir

    by maykal Written Nov 21, 2007
    Borj el Kebir, Mahdia
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    Follow any of the streets towards the end of the promontary, and you can't really miss Borj el Kebir. It is the large castle-type thing that looms over everything. Inside is a museum of sorts, although it is not the the most interesting exhibition in the world. In fact, you'll struggle to find a single exhibit, although a few do languish in some of the darker rooms. No...what you are really paying for is the view from the roof. On one side, you have the cemetery and lighthouse, in springtime covered in bright yellow dandelions...on the other side, fantastic views over the old town. Early morning would be a good time to come, assuming the guardien opens the door early enough...evening light is also great for photography, but unfortunately he decides to close up early, well before sunset...perhaps due to all the local couples and the many dark secluded hiding places inside....

    From what I remember, it costs a couple of TD to enter, plus an extra dinar for photography.

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    Mahdia's old town

    by maykal Updated Nov 21, 2007

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    Mahdia old town
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    i'm sure many a package tourist has stayed in Mahdia and not ventured out of the zone touristique by the beach. But to spend all your time by the beach is a real shame, as you'll miss out on Mahdia's old town, one of the most atmospheric of Tunisia's coastal cities. The old part is stuck out on a narrow promontary at the end of the beach, full of narrow alleyways and shady squares. It isn't that big, so no danger of getting lost, but it really is worth speeding through the touristy Skifa el Kahla (the entrance to the old town where all the souvenir shops and their pushy touts lurk) to reach Place du Caire with its outdoor cafes and the quiet and narrow streets beyond. There are not that many sights to hunt out, just wander round aimlessly, and sooner or later you'll find yourself by the sea again.

    If you visit on a Friday, the medina will be teeming with people...it is market day, and stalls stretch all along the main road from the fishing port to the Great Mosque...but get there early, as most stalls start to pack up early afternoon.

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    Fishes over the entrance

    by JLBG Written Feb 27, 2006

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    Fishes over the entrance
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    Traditionally, in Tunisia, fishes can be carved over the entrance of a house in order to give wealth to those living in the house. They are more or less easy to identify as they have been sometimes covered by paint or even coat but if you look carefully, you will see a good many. More often, there is only one. I wonder if the presence of two fishes means here increased wealth !

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Mahdia Things to Do

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