Explore the Intriguing Ruins of Lixus

The ruins of the ancient city of Lixus in the exotic country of Morocco serve as a fascinating reminder of area’s past. Situated north of the modern seaport of Larache on the Loukkos River, Lixus was one of the main cities of Mauretania Tingitana, a Roman province.

These Roman ruins, a popular attraction in Morocco, are set in a very picturesque area on a hill with the Loukkos River winding through the open fields and marshes below and forested hills to the north. Walking around the ruins of Lixus in this tranquil setting, it seems hard to imagine that this was once a busy settlement.

The city of Lixus was established by the Phoenicians during the 7th century BC as confirmed by archaeological discoveries. After coming under Carthaginian domination for a period of time, Lixus became a Roman imperial outpost of the province of Mauretania Tingitana and was an important city during the reign of Emperor Claudius I in the early 1st century AD.

Some ancient Greek writers believed that the mythological Garden of Hesperidia, a sanctuary for Hercules and the keepers of the golden apples, was located at Lixus. The city’s name was often mentioned in the writings of Hanno the Navigator, a Carthaginian explorer who was active around 450 BC. The remains of a mosque and a house with a patio with walls covered in painted stuccos are seen as evidence of the Islamic conquest of North Africa.

The site of the ruins of Lixus was extensively excavated between 1948 and 1969, during which time some restoration took place. After an international conference held in 1989, in which many scientists, historians and archaeologists participated, the site was partly enclosed in order to undertake a study of the mosaics found on the site. Interestingly, one of the large mosaics discovered represented Poseidon – the Greek god of the sea, horses and earthquakes. These excavations covered approximately 20% of the 75 hectare area of the Lixus ruins.

The unguarded ruins of the city of Lixus have now become a playground for the local children from Larache. Nevertheless, tourists who travel to Morocco will find this a very interesting place to explore.