May 14, 2009

The Medina has something for everyone

A medina quarter is a distinct city section found in many North African cities. The medina is typically walled, contains many narrow and maze-like streets, and was built by Arabs as far back as the 9th century CE. The word "medina" (or M├ędina) itself simply means "city" or "town" in modern day Arabic.

Medinas often contain historical fountains, palaces, and mosques. The monuments are preserved for their cultural significance (and are also a draw for tourists).

Because of the very narrow streets, medinas are free from car traffic, and in some cases even motorcycle and bicycle traffic. The streets can be less than a metre wide. This makes them unique among highly populated urban centres. Some medinas were also used to confuse and slow down invaders because of how narrow and winding they are.