Tunisia: the magic of Mahdia, the City of the Two Moons

A rapidly growing Tunisian seaside resort, Mahdia is a city rich in history: here's everything it has to offer
Tunisia: the magic of Mahdia, the City of the Two Moons
Source: 123rf

Seaside resort in Tunisia, mahdia it is a city with an ancient history. Known in the past by the names of Jemma, Aphrodisium and Cap Africa, it was one of the first fishing ports in the country thanks to its strategic position: its historic center extends over a peninsula 1400 meters long and 500 meters wide, while the modern city extends towards the hinterland.

And Mahdia, time seems to have stopped: here the women adorn themselves with gold jewels, and the houses are rich in embroidered curtains. But, over the years, the city is making its way as an important seaside resort, thanks to its golden beaches and crystal clear sea.

Moreover, Mahdia is nicknamed "the city of the Two Moons“, precisely because of those two bays between which it stands. But what can you see in this small village in Tunisia and its surroundings?

Tunisia: the magic of Mahdia, the City of the Two Moons

The monuments of Mahdia

Mahdia's heart is hers medina, at whose entrance stands the imposing symbolic gate of the city, the Skifa El Kahla: a legacy of the place's glorious past, it gives access to an intricate maze of streets and squares and the colorful city souk, with its carpets and jewels. If you go up the stairs on the sides of the Skifa, however, you reach a panoramic terrace with a splendid view of the bays and the ancient city.

Descending towards the tip of the peninsula, you reach the poetic marine cemetery, with simple white tombs that slope towards the sea and with, at their feet, the small Punic port. Continuing towards the lighthouse, here is the fortezza turca Borj el Kébir, dating back to the 16th century and with a walkway transformed into a splendid panoramic terrace.

Finally, leaving the medina, here appears the fishing port, one of the largest in all of Tunisia, with its renowned restaurants and clubs in which to spend the evening.

Tunisia: the magic of Mahdia, the City of the Two Moons

Hike to El Jem

If Mahdia is today an important Tunisian seaside resort, with a constantly growing presence of tourists, in its surroundings there are places that are worth a break from the sea. Among these, the most important is the town of El Jem, an ancient Berber village which in the past was the second most important city in Africa, immediately after Carthage.

Home to the third largest arena in the world after the Colosseum and the Arena of Capua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979: gladiator shows and chariot races took place here, with animals kept in cages that can still be visited today . In addition to the arena, the El Jem museum, where you can admire architectural elements that belonged to the splendid villas and public buildings of the city and, in particular, the sumptuous mosaic floors, among the most refined of Roman antiquity.

Tunisia: the magic of Mahdia, the City of the Two Moons

When to go to Mahdia

The best time for a holiday in Mahdia is between May and October: rainfall is scarce, and the temperature averages 27°. In January and February the maximum temperatures are around 26°, while in March and April they do not exceed 21° and it can often rain. Even in November and December the climate is good, with a maximum temperature of 24° and approximately 25% of monthly rainfall.

Thanks to the presence of the Mediterranean Sea, the climate in Mahdia is actually pleasant all year round; but it is in spring and early summer that this pretty fishing village with beautiful beaches and crystal clear sea is at its best.

How to get to Mahdia

To reach Mahdia from Italy, you can take a direct flight to Tunis. From here, you can then take the train (3 hours 15 minutes, costing around 5 euros) or a taxi (2 hours 30 minutes, around 40 euros): the two cities are in fact just over 200 km apart. The alternative is to land atMonastir Habib-Bourguiba Airport, which is about an hour away and where Tunisair flies.

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