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The ruins of Lixus

Lixus is the site of an ancient city located in Morocco just north of the modern seaport of Larache on the bank of the Loukkos River. The location was one of the main cities of the Roman province Mauretania Tingitana.

Contents

Geography

Ancient Lixus is located on Tchemmich Hill on the right bank of the Loukkos River (other names: Oued Loulous; Locus River), just to the north of the modern seaport of Larache[1]. The site lies within the urban perimeter of Larache, and about three kilometres inland from the mouth of the river and the Atlantic ocean. From its 80 metres above the plain the site dominates the marshes through which the river flows. To the north, Lixus is surrounded by hills which themselves are bordered to the north and east by a forest of cork oaks.

Among the ruins there are baths, unknown temples, 4th century walls, a mosaic floor, and the intricate, confusing, remains of the Capitol Hill to explore.

History

Ancient city of Mauretania Tingitana, Lixus was settled by the Phoenicians in the 7th century BC and was later annexed by Carthage. Lixus was part of a chain of Phoenician/Carthaginian settlements along the Atlantic coast of what is now present day Morocco; other major settlements further to the south are Chellah[2] and Mogador. When Carthage fell to Ancient Rome, Lixus, Chellah and Mogador became Roman imperial outposts.

The ancient sources agree to make of Lixus a counter Phoenician, which is confirmed by the archaeological discovery of material dating from 8th century BC. It gradually grew in importance, later coming under Carthaginian domination. After the destruction of Carthage, Lixus fell to Roman control and was made an imperial colony, reaching its zenith during the reign of the emperor Claudius I (AD 41-54).

Some ancient Greek writers located at Lixus the mythological garden of the Hesperides, the keepers of the golden apples. The name of the city which was often mentioned by writers from Hanno the Navigator to the Geographer of Ravenna and confirmed by the legend on its coins and by an inscription. The ancients believed this to be the site of the Garden of the Hesperides and of a sanctuary of Hercules, where Hercules gathered gold apples, more ancient than the one at Cadiz, Spain. However, there are no grounds for the claim that Lixus was founded at the end of the second millennium BC. Life was maintained there nevertheless until the Islamic conquest of North Africa by the presence of a mosque and a house with patio with the covered walls of painted stuccos.

Archaeological works

The site was excavated continuously from 1948 to 1969.[3] In the 1960s, Lixus was restored and consolidated. In 1989, following the international conference which brought together many scientists, specialists, historians and archaeologists of the Mediterranean around history and archaeology of Lixus, the site was partly enclosed. An enormous work was undertaken on study of the mosaics of the site which constitute a very rich unit. In addition to the vestiges interesting to discover the such mosaics whose one of sixty meters representing Poseidon. Lixus was on a surface of approximatively 75 hectares. The excavated zones constitute approximately 20% of the total surface of the site.

World Heritage Status

This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on July 1st, 1995 in the Cultural category.

See also

Line notes

  1. ^ Prehistoria de España: Trabajos dedicados al IV Congreso Internacional, Santiago Alcobé y Noguer
  2. ^ C. Michael Hogan, Chellah, The Megalithic Portal, ed. Andy Burnham
  3. ^ The Phoenicians, by Sabatino Moscati

External links

Coordinates: 35°12′N 6°06′W / 35.2°N 6.1°W / 35.2; -6.1

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