Meandering Through Mahdia…Part 5…The Medina

There weren’t too many corners of Mahdia that we didn’t walk through in our three weeks there. Even with the crazy sidewalks, walking through Mahdia was always an enjoyable adventure. But my favourite part of Mahdia was the Medina, just beyond the huge stone wall. In comparison to the Medinas we’ve visited in Morocco, the Medina in Mahdia is smaller in size, but very large in kindness. Gosh, even now, the memory of the kindness and genuine friendliness of people we met in the Mahdia Medina brings a warmth to my heart. And I don’t have pictures of too many people, because most of people we met throughout Mahdia didn’t want their picture taken. But I did take pictures of some of the shops, so maybe, if you’re ever in Mahdia, you can stop in and meet these wonderful people for yourselves.

You can’t miss the entrance to the Mahdia Medina. Looming tall and magnificent, the main entrance to the Medina is called Skifa Kahla, and is the last remnant of an ancient fortress built in 916 AD by the Fatimids.

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Once we travelled the long dark cobblestone passageway (about 50 meters long) through the great wall, we emerged into the first crossroads inside the Medina. Maybe it was because it was still early in the morning, but it felt tranquil and hospitable inside these old walls. Right away I was glad to be there and eager to explore. Right, left, straight ahead…we were surrounded by colour and history…colourful ceramics, handmade weavings, jewellery, silk pashminis and scarves, clothing, carpets and knick-knack souvenirs of every possible description.

We opted for the first shop on the left…and were glad we started there. Full of delightful little treasures, it was a feast for my souvenir-hunting eyes. Right away, the shop owner came running into the store, introduced himself, offered my husband a chair in the corner in the store and asked if we would like some mint tea. It didn’t take me long to decide what I wanted (two blue/white porcelain tagines – exact matches to some souvenirs we had bought in Morocco), and our shop host was quick to see that we knew how to bargain and quickly offered us a price we couldn’t refuse.

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Lots of interesting treasures to be found in the Medina…

From there we wandered through the labyrinth of narrow lanes, noting the places we wanted to come back to when we finished the rest of our tour of the Medina and the Old City. I was especially interested in the looms and weavings, and on the way back through the Medina, we stopped in one tiny shop where a woven pink pashmini had caught my eye. It was so soft, and I think I still regret not buying it, but instead, I bought a red and black one with a rose motif that would be more useful for me back home.

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The loom…

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The weaver…and the pink scarf that lured me in.

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The pashmini I chose

As we continued meandering through the Medina, we stopped and bought several more souvenirs for loved ones back home. And we stopped and chatted to people along the way as well, which was fun and interesting. At one intersection, while hubby was chatting with an elderly man, another pink concoction caught my eye and I ventured into the shop…and came out with the beautiful pink sweater in hand…one of the hotel employees told me later that I probably overpaid for it, but I didn’t care, it’s a cosy souvenir that I’ve already worn several times and am glad to have hanging in my closet.

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The pink caught my eye

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One of the few people who didn’t mind having his picture taken…can you see my pink sweater?

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So cosy! It feels wonderful!

That was the end of our first trek through the Medina, but we returned a few more times and always enjoyed our meanderings and encounters there. On one of our return visits, the gentleman from that first shop warmly greeted us and took us to some other interesting shops buried deep in the labyrinth…one in particular was one of our favourites, filled with aromatic spices of every colour. We did buy some, but ended up giving them away later because we weren’t sure about bringing loose spices back through Canadian customs…I looked it up online, but still wasn’t sure enough to risk it, so we gave the spices away before leaving Mahdia.

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We found these amazing colourful spices in a teeny tiny shop buried deep within the complex labyrinth of the Medina.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the nooks and crannies of the Mahdia Medina and would count this as a “must-see” sight if you ever go to Mahdia yourself. The Medina and the Friday “Souk” Market, which I’ll cover in the next segment, are a big reason that if we ever go back to Madhia, we plan to go with half-empty suitcases so we can fill them with the treasures that we didn’t have space for this time.

Coming up next…let’s go to the Friday Souk!

 

About Sharon

I love to write. I love to write myself into being right here right now. Writing releases something in me that needs wings, writing opens doors and windows that I often don't even realize are possible, writing helps me breathe out the dusty old, and to breathe in the new and possible. My hope is that maybe writing here in this blog will bring new light into these dusty old hallways and help me to clear out the thinking processes and mindsets that just don't work for me anymore. I seek to breathe new light and life into the nooks and crannies of a soul that has been feeling somewhat lost and frayed because of the last few patches of road I've had to travel.
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4 Responses to Meandering Through Mahdia…Part 5…The Medina

  1. Angelika Schwarz says:

    What a nice way to start my Sunday…strolling with you through the markets. Happy Sunday from Mallorca!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon says:

      Thanks Angelika…I miss many of the things I’m writing about in this blog on Mahdia…I’m surprised at how quickly the people and Mahdia itself became a part of my heart. I didn’t expect to feel that connection after only a few weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Angelika Schwarz says:

        I wish I could say the same for the folks here. The waiters are of course all very nice… but store clerks tend to be moody and bothered. I think it has something to do with the number of tourists. Mallorca exists from tourism; would you believe they get about 14 Million tourists/year. That is a lot for a small island…and many natives are nerved by them, instead of appreciating the revenue brought in.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon says:

    We lived in Bermuda for awhile…hubby for six months, me for three of those months, and we saw the same thing…a weariness from having so deal with tourists day in and day out. Thousands of the tourists poured into the tiny island from the cruise ships, which were only in port from Monday to Friday. So there was always a hectic atmosphere during the week. There was a very different atmosphere everywhere on the weekends, a rejuvenation, even celebration…which quickly disappeared once the first cruise ship showed up on Monday morning, LOL. The prices also went way down in the shops and restaurants on the weekends. I loved shopping on Saturday mornings! Big sales. I guess that’s a sad commentary for anyplace whose economy relies so much on tourism. Mahdia had it right, but then we were in low season and everyone had more time and energy to be more attentive maybe?

    Like

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