What is a Medina?

I have been writing so much about the Medina, but what is a Medina? A medina quarter ”the old city” is a distinct city section found in a number of North African and Maltese cities. A medina is typically walled, with many narrow and maze-like streets.  The word “Medina” itself simply means “city” or “town” in modern-day Arabic.

Medina quarters often contain historical fountains, palaces, mosques and sometimes churches. Because of the very narrow streets, medinas are generally free from car traffic. The streets can be less than a metre wide. This makes them unique among highly populated urban centres. In 1985 the Medina of Marrakech was declared a UNESCO World Meritage site.


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