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 Médina) 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.