Mahdia Governorate

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ولاية المهدية
Map of Tunisia with Mahdia highlighted
Map of Tunisia with Mahdia highlighted
Coordinates: 35°30′N 11°04′E / 35.500°N 11.067°E / 35.500; 11.067Coordinates: 35°30′N 11°04′E / 35.500°N 11.067°E / 35.500; 11.067
CreatedJune 5, 1974
 • Total2,966 km2 (1,145 sq mi)
Area rankRanked 16th of 24
 • Total410,812
 • RankRanked 14th of 24
 • Density140/km2 (360/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01 (CET)
Postal prefix
ISO 3166 codeTN-53

Mahdia Governorate (Tunisian Arabic: ولاية المهدية‎) is in central-eastern Tunisia, named after its largest town, its administrative centre. It comprises an area of coastal relative lowlands and is one of the twenty-four governorates (provinces). It covers an area of 2,966 km², extends further inland than its coastal length and has a population of 410,812 (as at the 2014 census).[1] Three districts neighbour, clockwise from south, Sfax, Kairouan and Sousse Governorates.

Economic summary[edit]

Swordfish on a roundabout in Mahdia. The tourist industry is reflected in the area by luxury accommodation, restaurants and impressive works of art.

Mahdia, the administrative centre, is a coastal resort with prominent weaving and fish processing industries.[2]

The other coastal urban centre is the small town of Chebba, on the headland of a bay. Ksour Essef is midway between these towns and approximately 2.5 km inland. El Djem is 13 km inland and a mid-sized town on a major crossroads of roads in the district and having Tunisia's main north-south railway. The nearest international airport is connected by road and rail and is 15 km north of Mahdia (the town), Monastir Habib Bourguiba International Airport.

Synopsis of history[edit]

Ship's anchor of the Mahdia shipwreck, many of the artefacts of which are in the Bardo National Museum in Tunis.

The two main coastal cities are of historic note to Greek, Roman, and early Muslim societies. They include the Mahdia shipwreck – a sunken ship found off Mahdia's shore, containing Greek art treasures – dated to about 80 BC, the early part of Roman rule in this region. The old part of Mahdia corresponds to the Roman city called Aphrodisium and, later, called Africa (a name perhaps derived from the older name),[3][4] or Cape Africa.[5][6][7][8]


The climate is semiarid throughout particularly in the summer and due to the high albedo effects compared to provinces of the far north, nighttime temperatures tend to fall more, to a similar temperature to average upland parts of the north. Much of the developed area benefits from the Sousse area's advanced water distribution network from dammed rivers and lakes including those hundreds of miles to the west which provides water for domestic use and pools.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Eighteen municipalities are in Mahdia Governorate: Bou Merdes, Bradaa, Chebba, Chorbane, Eljem, Essouassi, Hebira, Hkaima, Kerker, Ksour Essef, Mahdia, Melloulèche, Ouled Chamekh, Rejiche, Sidi Alouane, Sidi Zid, Tlelsa and Zelba.

Code Municipality Population
3311 Mahdia 51,833
3312 Rejiche 10,806
3313 Bou Merdes 4,338
3314 Ouled Chamekh 5,120
3315 Chorbane 5,700
3316 Hebira 3,248
3317 Essouassi 5,381
3318 El Djem 21,234
3319 Kerker 7,467
3320 Chebba 22,227
3321 Melloulèche 6,704
3322 Sidi Alouane 7,500
3323 Ksour Essef 28,842
3324 El Bradâa 7,404

Electorally and for some more national purposes, Mahdia has eleven delegations, most boundaries of which are similar to the governorates.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (in French) Census 2014 (National Institute of Statistics) Archived 2014-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "MAHDIA:Finger pointing at the sea". Retrieved 2012-07-15.
  3. ^ "Aphrodisium, which is now commonly called Africa, but by the Moors Mahdia" (Antique Map of Tunis, Mahdia & Peñon de Veles by Braun & Hogenberg
  4. ^ Fiche technique des sites archéologiques de Mahdia
  5. ^ Geographical Names: Cape Africa: Tunisia
  6. ^ Satellite view of Cape Africa
  7. ^ Kenneth Meyer Setton, The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571 (American Philosophical Society 1984 ISBN 978-0-87169161-3), p. 533
  8. ^ Charles Tissot, Géographie comparée de la province romaine d'Afrique (Paris 1888), p. 176
  9. ^ Recensement Général de la Population et de l'Habitat 2014 – Population, logements et ménages par commune et arrondissement [Census 2014 results – population, accommodation and households per municipality and delegation] (Report) (in French). National Institute of Statistics. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2016.