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Lixus | ليكسوس





English :

Lixus was first settled by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BC and was later annexed by Carthage. Lixus was part of a chain of Phoenician/Carthaginian settlements along the Atlantic coast of modern Morocco; other major settlements further to the south are Chellah (called Sala Colonia by the Romans) and Mogador. When Carthage fell to Ancient Rome, Lixus, Chellah and Mogador became imperial outposts of the Roman province Mauretania Tingitana.

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.

Wiki

French :

Le site de Lixus est situé sur la rive droite de l'oued Loukkos, à environ 4 km de son embouchure. La ville antique de Lixus est bâtie sur une colline connue chez les habitants de la région sous le toponyme de Tchemich.

La mention la plus ancienne remontant au périple du Pseudo Scylax (IVème s. av. J.-C.), fait de « Lixos » une ville phénicienne. Des indications un peu plus détaillées sont fournies par d’autres textes antiques, en particulier celui de Pline qui place l'un des exploits d'Hércule (la cueillette des pommes d'or des jardins des Héspérides) à lixus et présente Lixus comme la plus ancienne colonie phénicienne de l'occident méditerranéen (XIIème s. av. J.-C.), en indiquant que le temple de Lixus est plus ancien que celui de Gadès.

Les recherches archéologiques entreprises sur le site depuis les années vingt et qui se poursuivent jusqu’à nos jours dans le cadre de programmes de partenariat ont fourni des données importantes sur les différentes phases de la longue histoire du site.

Si la tradition littéraire situe la fondation de Lixus au XIIème s. av. J.-C., la réalité archéologique ne permet pas de remonter au-delà du premier tiers du VIIIème s. av. J.-C. Le matériel phénicien recueilli en plusieurs endroits de la ville indique que la ville phénicienne devait occuper une grande partie de l’acropole et ses pentes orientales. Les recherches récentes entreprises dans le sondage du caroubier ont permis de repérer, pour la première fois, des structures d’époque phénicienne. La diversité et la richesse du matériel exhumé à Lixus dénote l’importance du rôle qu’a du jouer la ville en tant que métropole et port ouvert aux circuits commerciaux de Méditerranée.

Les fouilles archéologiques entreprises sur le site de Lixus n'ont révélé jusqu'à maintenant aucun monument qu'on peut attribuer d'une manière certaine à l’époque punique qui correspond en gros au moment de la thalassocratie carthaginoise. Cette époque est marquée par l’arrivée de céramiques grecques à vernis noir et à figure rouge et un important mobilier en bronze (puisoir chypriote et pieds de tables) et par la diffusion de céramiques et amphores produites dans des ateliers locaux notamment à Kouass.

A partir du 3e s. av. J.-C. la ville de Lixus allait connaître un développement urbain important dont témoigne le quartier d’habitat délimité par l’enceinte maurétanienne.

Vers la fin du premier siècle av. J.-C., la ville de Lixus va assister à une phase de "prospérité" urbaine caractérisée par un souci d'aménagement de l'espace dans la ville. Cette prospérité se manifeste dans la riche décoration des maisons attestées par des restes d'enduit peint découverts sur plusieurs murs et dans les remblais. Sous le règne de Juba II et de son fils Ptolémée, Lixus a connu une période de prospérité et un développement urbain sans précédent qui se manifeste par le complexe du quartier des temples.

A partir de 42 de l’ère chrétienne, sous le règne de l’empereur Claude, Lixus devient colonie romaine, et on assiste à un grand développement économique et urbain de la ville. La pêche et les industries de salaisons ont fait de Lixus une métropole économique en Méditerranée occidentale. De même la richesse de l’arrière pays de la ville a favorisé le développement de l’agriculture. La ville se dote à cette époque de plusieurs monuments publics (théâtre-amphithéâtre, thermes, temples) et des demeures privés richement décorées de fresques et de mosaïques (mosaïque de Mars et Rhéa, mosaïque des trois Grâces, mosaïque d’Hélios).

A la fin du 3ème s. et au 4ème s., la ville se replie sur elle même avec la construction d’une enceinte qui réduit de moitié la superficie initialement habitée.

Minculture.gov.ma

 

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Words and photos: Suzanna Clarke for The View from Fez



It's off the beaten tourist track, with a makeshift entrance and little infrastructure. But the ancient Roman city of Lixus, near the northern Moroccan seaport of Larache, is well worth a visit. Suzanna Clarke reports for The View from Fez

On a day trip from Assilah in northern Morocco, we made our way to Lixus, 35 kilometres away. I had visions of ticket collections and the usual posse of guides hanging around the entrance, as they do at that other well-known Roman site, Volubilis. Perhaps even a small cafe?

However, Lixus is a site in waiting. The entrance is a "provisional" one, and isn't easy to find, and there is no ticket collection or other infrastructure. Once a thriving city stretching over 75 hectares, nowadays the entrance to Lixus is a gap through an unfinished wall, and a planned visitor centre looks impressive, but work on it ceased prior to completion, more than two years ago.


The remains of the fish processing area, where the fish paste "garum" was made

We were the only visitors to Lixus that morning, and a cheerful security guard offered to show us around. His grandfather had been a guardian of the site, as had his father, he told us.

First stop on the tour were the remains of more than 150 pools and the processing areas used for a fish factory, which used to make "garum", a strong fish paste. Fish were laid out and covered with salt in order to make the paste, which was then shipped to other parts of the Roman Empire.

We turned and began to wind up the hill, following an ancient roadway. Settled by that sea-faring culture, the Phoenicians, in the 7th century BC, Lixus was later annexed by Carthage - and became one of a string of Phoenician/Carthaginian settlements along the Atlantic coast, which included Chellah (now in modern Rabat, and then called Sala Colonia by the Romans) and Mogador (now Essaouira). Further inland was the better known city of Volubilis. When Carthage fell to Ancient Rome, Lixus, Chellah, Mogador and Volubilis became imperial outposts of the Roman province Mauretania Tingitana. It flourished during the reign of Emperor Claudius 1, from AD 41 - 54.


The Roman amphitheatre

Only an estimated 20% of Lixus has been excavated, so it's possible a wealth of ancient mosaics and other significant artefacts lie beneath. Active excavation did take place between 1948 and 1969. Then, after an international conference in 1989, which many scientists, historians and archaeologists participated, the site was partly enclosed in order to undertake a study of the mosaics. One of these represented Poseidon – the Greek god of the sea, horses and earthquakes. The mosaics and even a mask of Hercules, found in a temple, have been moved to museums in Rabat and Tetouan. In 1995, Lixus was put on the World Heritage register.

As we rounded the hill, to our right was a breathtaking sight - an ancient amphitheatre, one of the few in north Africa and the only known one in Morocco. In the middle is a large mosaic of Poseidon, which has been covered over with dirt to preserve it. Here gladiators and animals such as lions would have fought and plays would have been performed. Behind that are the remains of a public bath-house. The changing rooms, pools and ovens to heat the water are still visible.


The remains of houses where the wealthiest citizens lived


In typical Roman (and later Islamic) style, houses were centred around courtyards

A little further on, with a magnificent view of the river Loukkas and the estuary, are the remains of the houses where the wealthiest citizens lived - those highly ranked in the army. Like Volubilis, the remains of the walls show that the house design was typically Roman, with rooms grouped off a courtyard.

Life, I imagined, would have been more than tolerable if you were in the upper classes. Attractive houses with wonderful views, a sizeable town which produced and traded good food, and for entertainment, plays and gladiatorial combat at the amphitheatre.

Visitors, too, would undoubtedly have made their way there. The name Lixus was mentioned by ancient writers such as Hanno the Navigator, a Carthaginian explorer who was active around 450 BC. and the Geographer of Ravenna. It is also 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. It's more ancient than the one at Cadiz in Spain.


The restored Roman armoury

In the third century Lixus become nearly fully Christian and there are ruins of a Paleo-Christian church overlooking the archeological area. However, the city was badly damaged during the Arab conquest of North Africa in the 5th century. Some Arabs and Berbers continued to live there until a century later, as can be seen by the remains of a mosque and a house with a patio with walls covered in painted stucco. The final demise of the city came about in 1300 AC because of a mosquito problem and a drought. Whether there was an outbreak of malaria can only be speculated.


The Roman forum has been partially restored


Some of the columns were vandalised a month ago :eek:hno:

Following the path leads to a restored armoury, and the remains of a watch tower. And down beyond, is what used to be a Roman forum. This has been partially restored. Last month, unfortunately, vandals broke in and stole some of the columns and pushed over others.



It's clear there is a desire from the government for Lixus to fulfil its potential. The new visitors's centre, by a Belgian architect, is stylish and well designed. Complete with electricity and water, it looks ready to go - it just needs the finishing touches.







It will contain a small museum, restoration areas for trained archeologists and offices for management, as well as a contemporary cafe with a wonderful view out over the the river and Larache. But it's been more than two years since work stopped.

It's to be hoped that the money can be found to complete the project. With a modest injection of funds, Lixus could easily compete with Volubilis as a popular site for tourists - whose revenue would in turn help fund continuing exploration and restoration of the site, and increased employment in the local area. It's a magic place - so make the effort to visit it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nice article, although there is some mistakes, for example : Mogador isn't Essaouira and Rabat isn't Sala colonia.

And great to see that visitor's center under construction.
 

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Au dernière nouvelle, les travaux du batiment qui etait censé accueillir le musée n'est toujours pas fini par manque de fond le chantier est arreté.
Il y a juste quelque "gardes" qui surveillent le site et qui font office de guides touristiques.
 

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Merci pour le témoignage. Comment t'as trouvé le site ? Je veux dire, est-ce bien entretenu ? L'entrée est gratuite ou payante ?
 

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Merci pour le témoignage. Comment t'as trouvé le site ? Je veux dire, est-ce bien entretenu ? L'entrée est gratuite ou payante ?
Tout d'abord, je suis aller sur tripadvisor pour avoir quelques témoignages du site puis dès mon arrivée à Larache j'ai demander aux passants ^^
Le site est perchée sur une colline au bord de la national N1 (dans le sens Tanger --> Larache) pas très loin de l'entrée de la ville en faite.
Au sommet de la colline la vue est magnifique :banana:
Sinon à part les gardiens qui surveillent, il n'y a pas véritablement d'aménagement pour accueillir des touristes, tous les travaux sont arreter pareil pour les fouilles archéologique.
Galek le ministère de la culture n'a plus d'argent :nuts:
L'entrée est bien gratuit, tu seras bien accueilli par un gardien sympa qui s'appele Jalal, il te fera visiter et t'expliquera chaque partie du site.
Mais ca se fait pas de partir sans donner quelque chose à la fin :colgate:
 

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Je confirme. J'y suis passé il y a tres longtemps. Belle vue de la colline.
On a de l'argent pour se payer des théâtres de de Portzemprac et de Hadid et pour inviter J-Lo à coups de milliards mais pas pour sécuriser le site. .
Comme pour Mazagan: comment vendre du rêve aux investisseurs en leur promettant une médina d'El Jadida idyllique qui viendrait en complément du resort. Alors que makayen 7ta wouza (pour rester poli).
Dommage. Espérons au moins que le site résiste encore sans trop de dégats quelque temps, le temps qu'une prise de conscience apparaisse.
 
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