Lixus is an ancient village located just minutes outside of Larache. It is located high on a hill between the Loukkos River and the port. The ruins here date back to the 4th century B.C. Among the ruins, you will see Roman baths, temples, ancient walls, a mosaic, and some remains of Capitol Hill.
The archeological site is huge at 160 acres and only about 20% of it has been excavated. Excavation began and ran continuously from 1948 until 1969. In 1989, the site was partially enclosed and today work continues on the property and making it more tourist friendly. Some of the mosaics located here have been moved to museums in Tangier, Rabat, and Tetuoan.
When we arrived, we found some young men at the entrance who work there as security and as informal guides. They must accompany guests on the site to ensure the security of the archeological artifacts and buildings. It was helpful to have the guide lead us through the path and answer questions that we had about the site, uses of different buildings, and the excavation process.
It took us about 3 hours to tour the site. The path to climb the hill is cleared and fairly easy. We stopped to look and take in the views at a variety of altitudes. The location between the river and the Atlantic Ocean proved to be strategic for the early communities.
Lixus was first settled by Phoenicians in the 7th century B.C. It was annexed by Carthage and eventually fell to the ancient Romans. Lixus was at its prime during the Roman Empire.
It was one of the few Berber African cities that boasted an amphitheater. In the 3rd century, Lixus was almost entirely Christian and there are ruins of a Paleochristian church overlooking the site. The Arab invasions destroyed the city.
We went to this area specifically to see this archeological site and we weren’t disappointed. The site is not pristine as many archeological sites in terms of clearing brush and foliage around the areas, but for me, this contributed to the mystery and potential for future discovery of this site. I enjoyed imagining what else might lie below just waiting to be uncovered.