Great Mosque

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Mahdia is a very pleasant place which sees few tourists.

The Great Mosque in the centre of the town is surrounded by high golden stone walls and is unusual as it has no minaret. Guide books said this was closed to non-muslims but the door was open so we went in. Entry was 1TD each. The mosque was founded in 9thC but completely reconstructed 1960-70s apart from the monumental portal leading to the courtyard which retains its 9thC stonework and has lovely red arches. The rest still looks very new and modern.

Inside the gateway is a huge courtyard surrounded by arches and the Prayer Hall on the opposite wall. The large wooden doors into Prayer Hall were open and we could see the columns supporting the roof with a huge chandelier, floor covered with carpets and wooden Minibar which is part of the original 9thC building. In the north corner of the courtyard are the remains of the cisterns which collected and stored water from the roof.

Apart from another couple, we had the place to ourselves. It lacks the splendour of the Great Mosque at Kairouan but was an interesting place to visit.

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