A muḥāfaẓah (Arabic: محافظة[muˈħæːfazˤa]; plu. محافظات muḥāfaẓāt [muħæːfaˈzˤaːt]) is a first-level administrative division of many Arab countries, and a second-level administrative division in Saudi Arabia. The term is usually translated to governorate in English, and occasionally to province. It comes from the Arabic root ḥ-f-ẓ which means to 'keep and guard'. The head of a Muḥāfaẓah is called"Muḥāfiẓ.


The word muḥāfaẓah is a 19th century translation of French préfecture.

Muhafazah's in Arab countries

The Governorates of Tunisia are wilāyah.

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