Presentation of the town
MAHDIA is an ancient town whose roots in history go very far. Although it has lived through successive historical eras, the pre-Fatimid history is still unknown. Yet, monumental researches and digging both on land and in the sea have proved that Punic and Roman civilizations had once settled in the town.
The real historical era which characterized Mahdia started in 308 Hegira, 920 AD, when the Fatimids settled in it and made it the capital of the Fatimids Dynasty. The first Caliph, Abdallah El Fatimi, made it the capital because of its typical geographical location. The fact that it looked on to the sea from 3 sides made of it fortified fortress that was unattainable for foreign conquerors.
It also made of it an important Mediterranean commercial centre. After Moez Lidine Ellah Fatimi, the 4th Fatimid Kalifa had left Mahdia and gone to establish a new Dynasty in Egypt where he settled in Cairo in 360 Hegira 970 AD, the Sanhagites ruled over Mahdia. They conspired against the Fatimids who took revenge by sending the Hilali tribes. This period was known as the Hilali conquest on Tunisia. Since then the town became a victim to different raids: Halilis, Crusaders and Spanish.
That led to a chaotic situation where Mahdia was neither colonized nor independent.
Eventually, the Spanish destroyed Mahdia and burnt it.
Thus, the town lost its logistic and commercial importance, mainly during the Husseinite and Turkish dynasties.