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Mahdia Governorate

Coordinates: 35°30′N 11°04′E / 35.500°N 11.067°E / 35.500; 11.067
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ولاية المهدية
Map of Tunisia with Mahdia highlighted
Map of Tunisia with Mahdia highlighted
Subdivisions of Mahdia Governorate
Subdivisions of Mahdia Governorate
Coordinates: 35°30′N 11°04′E / 35.500°N 11.067°E / 35.500; 11.067
Country Tunisia
Created5 June 1974
 • GovernorVacant
 • Total2,966 km2 (1,145 sq mi)
 • 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; French: Gouvernorat de Mahdia) is in central-eastern Tunisia, named after its largest town and administrative centre. It comprises an area of coastal relative lowland, but extends further inland than its coastal length. It is one of the twenty-four governorates (provinces). It covers an area of 2,966 km², and has a population of 410,812 (as at the 2014 census).[1] Four other governorates are its neighbours - clockwise from south, Sfax, Kairouan, Sousse and Monastir Governorates.

Economic summary

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

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


The governorate is divided into eleven delegations (mutamadiyat), listed below with their populations at the 2004 and 2014 Censuses:[9]

Delegation Area
in km2
Bou Merdès 191 29,559 33,890
Chebba 119 23,334 24,515
Chorbane 444 28,577 25,935
El Djem 287 41,064 48,611
Essouassi 348 46,276 50,424
Hebira 316 11,057 10,654
Ksour Essef 221 48,799 54,366
Mahdia 166 71,719 79,545
Melloulèche 161 19,464 22,085
Ouled Chamekh 325 22,732 23,020
Sidi Alouane 289 35,272 37,767

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



  1. ^ (in French) Census 2014 (National Institute of Statistics) Archived 2014-10-29 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "MAHDIA:Finger pointing at the sea". Lexicorient.com. 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. ^ Institut National de la Statistique Tunisie (web).
  10. ^ 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.