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The ruins of Lixus are on a hill above the Oued Loukos .

Lixus ( hair dryer. : Lks ) was a Phoenician and Roman town and trading post on the Atlantic Ocean in the northwest of Morocco .


The ancient ruins of Lixus are located on a hill about 3 km inland opposite the present-day town of Larache . The mouth of the Oued Loukos and the ancient port used to be at the foot of the hill . The road N 1 to Tangier runs directly past the Garum basin of Lixus.



According to tradition, Lixus was founded by Phoenicians from Tire a little more than 80 years after the Trojan War , which is why it was founded around 1100 BC. Was adopted; however, such an early foundation cannot be archaeologically confirmed. The earliest finds date back to the late 9th or early 8th century BC. To date. Trade with the Phoenician colonies on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean is said to have started around the same time as in Gades . Later the city came under Carthaginian influence. It was of great importance as a trading post for the Phoenicians and Carthaginians for the ore-rich hinterland, an extension of the Atlas . There were gold , copper , iron and lead gained.


The remains of some monumental buildings by Lixus may date from the time of the Numid king Juba II , who ruled the kingdom of Mauritania at the turn of the century . However, only sparse remains have been preserved. In 40 AD his son and successor, Ptolemy II, was murdered in Rome on the orders of the Emperor Caligula .

Lixus - theater / amphitheater


During the Roman Empire, Lixus was part of the Mauretania Tingitana province created by Emperor Claudius in 42 . It experienced an economic boom due to the trade and ship transport of grain, olives and, above all, of garum , a salty fish sauce popular in Roman times, and was richly equipped with buildings; a theater , which also served as an amphitheater , was built, as well as temples, thermal baths, a forum and other public buildings and private villas (some with mosaic floors). During the crisis of late antiquity, an approximately 2-3 m high wall was built right through the city - possibly an attempt to separate the Roman and indigenous population. Lixus was abandoned by the Romans in the 4th century AD.


During a long and repeatedly interrupted excavation campaign from 1949 to around 1970, the center - ie around 20% of the former total area - of the ancient city area was examined. Some mosaic finds from Roman times were brought to the Archaeological Museum of Tétouan . The side cheek of a throne seat with the representation of a sphinx - possibly dating back to Phoenician times - can be seen today in the Archaeological Museum of Rabat .


After Volubilis , Lixus is the most important ancient archaeological site in Morocco. However, a visit to the ruins is only of interest to professionals. A look at the Garum basin - located at the foot of the hill and not far from the ancient harbor - as well as the remains of the theater / amphitheater and the foundation walls of a small apsidial building that has been viewed as a late antique church or even an early mosque are usually sufficient .

The ancient site of Lixus was in 1995 on a provisional list of UNESCO - World Heritage set.


Already in antiquity, Lixus was equated with the place where Heracles stole the golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides .

See also

Other sites on the Atlantic with a possible Phoenician background are Tingis (= Tangier ), Sala (= Chellah of Rabat ), Rusibis (= El Jadida ) and the purple islands near Essaouira . On the Mediterranean coast, Rusaddir (= Melilla ) should be mentioned.


  • Michael Sommer : The Phoenicians. Merchants between Orient and Occident . Kröner, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-520-45401-7 .
  • Arnold Betten: Morocco. Antiquity, Berber Traditions and Islam - History, Art and Culture in the Maghreb. DuMont, Ostfildern 2012, pp. 211ff ISBN 978-3-7701-3935-4
  • Ingeborg Lehmann, Rita Henss u. a .: Morocco. Baedeker-Verlag, Ostfildern 2010, pp. 284f ISBN 978-3-8297-1251-4

Web links

Commons : Lixus  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Velleius Paterculus , Historia Romana 1,2,3.
  2. Eleftheria Pappa, Reflections on the earliest Phoenician presencs in North-West Africa ( Memento of August 26, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 356 kB) , TALANTA XL-XLI (2008-2009), pp. 53-72, p 67 note 38; for speculative older dates see z. B. Paul Clammer: Morocco. Verlag Lonely Planet, 2010, p. 138 or with ill. [1] @ (English, August 22, 2014) and for connection with the stone circle of M'zora : The enigmatic Mzora stone ring in Morocco @stonepages. com (August 22, 2014)

Coordinates: 35 ° 11 ′ 58.6 ″  N , 6 ° 6 ′ 39.4 ″  W.