Tunisia / Cities and Towns /
Town in Tunisia with about 40,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate, situated on the peninsula Cape Ifriqiya on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of Mahdia governorate with 400,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate) and an area of 2,966 km².
The Skifa el-Kahla, the old gate into Mahdia.
The Fatimid port.
The economy of Mahdia is based on fishing, fish canning, olive cultivation, olive-oil milling and handicrafts.
Mahdia has good connections to other urban centres in Tunisia, and lies near the railway and highway between Sousse and Sfax.
Mahdia is one of Tunisia's most beautiful cities. In addition to the charming quarters is there a 10th-century mosque (the first Fatimid mosque built), a 16th-century Ottoman fort, ruins of an ancient wall, the Fatimid port and remains of a Punic city.
912: Founded by the first Fatimid Caliph Ubayd Allah who claimed to be a Mahdi, and therefore named the town Mahdia.
921: Mahdia becomes capital of Fatimid Tunisia.
973: With the Fatimid moving to Cairo in 970, following their conquest of Egypt, Mahdia is abandoned 3 years later.
1057: The Zirid rulers of Tunisia is forced to take refuge in Mahdia following the invasion of the Banu Hillal tribe.
11th century: Mahdia becomes a centre for sea piracy.
1148: Mahdia is occupied by the Normans of Sicily.
1160: Reconquered by local rulers.
1547: The corsair Dragut makes Mahdia the centre of his piracy activities.
1550: Mahdia is attacked by the Spanish, who conquers it.
1554: The Spanish are driven out of Mahdia, but have the city walls and the Great Mosque razed to the ground first.
1963: The reconstruction of the Great Mosque is begun, following the original 10th century plans.