Established at the entrance of
the old city in a reconverted building belonging
to the navy, the museum seeks to be both a reflection
of the history of the country, to which the city
contributed considerably, and more specifically
of Mahdia itself.
With respect to the first objective, on the ground
floor the museum displays objects dating to Libyco-Punic
and Roman-African Antiquity while a part of the
first floor is devoted to the Byzantine and Islamic
period. The Greek civilisation is represented
by two marble columns partly eaten away by molluscs
that came from a Roman ship loaded with war booty
that was shipwrecked off the coast of Mahdia.
Most of the cargo was recovered in the 40s and
is exhibited in the “Mahdia” wing
of the Bardo Museum.
With respect to the second objective, the first
floor displays a great number of craft objects
(sculpted and painted woodwork, mosaics, carved
stucco work, ceramics, faience..) originating
from the city and its surroundings, some dating
back to the Fatimid dynasty that founded the city
in the Xth century. Similarly, two rooms are devoted,
one to weaving, for which Mahdia was an important
centre, the other to sumptuous traditional costumes
from the region of Mahdia – El Jem –
The attention of visitors is drawn to the “treasure
and jewellery” room where gold coins and
sets of jewellery traditionally worn by women
of the region are exhibited.