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History & Patrimony
Larache, the Antique Lixus
Ancient Sites of Morocco

Where to sleep in Larache?

The site of Lixus is located on the right bank of the Loukkos wadi, to approximately 4 km of its delta. The ancient city of Lixus is built on a hill known to the inhabitants of the area under the toponym of Tchemich.
The oldest mention goes back to the era of the Pseudo Scylax (IVth century B.C), makes of "Lixos" a Phoenician city. Little more detailed indications are provided by other ancient texts, in particular that of Pline which places one of the exploits of Hercules (the gathering of gold apples from the gardens of Hesperides) in lixus and presents it as the oldest Phoenician colony of the occident Mediterranean (XIIth century B.C).

If the literary tradition locates the foundation of Lixus in
the XIIth century B.C, the archaeological reality enables to go up beyond the first third of the VIIIth century B.C. The Phoenician material collected in several places of the city indicates that the Phoenician city did occupy most of the Eastern acropolis and its oriental slopes. The recent research undertaken in the Caroubier survey allowed locating, for the first time, structures from the Phoenician era. The diversity and the richness of the exhumed material in Lixus indicate the importance of the role that the city played as a metropolis and open port to the Mediterranean trade-circuits.

Starting from the 3rd century B.C, the town of Lixus was going to experience a significant urban development of which testifies the habitat district delimited by the Mauritanian enclosure.
Towards the end of the first century B.C, the city of Lixus will attend a phase of urban "prosperity". This prosperity conveys in the rich decoration of the houses attested by remainders of coating paints discovered on several walls and in the embankments. Under the reign of Juba II and his son Ptolemee, Lixus knew an unprecedented urban development which appears in the complex of the temples district.

From 42 of the Christian era, under the reign of the emperor Claude, Lixus becomes Roman colony that lives a great economic and urban development. The fishing and salting industries made of Lixus an economic metropolis in the Western Mediterranean. Meanwhile, the richness of the back country of the city supported the development of agriculture. The city is equipped at that time with several public monuments (theatre-amphitheatre, thermal baths, temples) and residences richly decorated with frescos and mosaics (mosaic of Mars and Rhea, mosaic of the Three Graces, mosaic of Photogravure).

In the end of 3rd and 4th century, the city enters an era of lethargy with the construction of an enclosure which reduces half the initially inhabited surface.

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