Morocco opened a new facility at Lixus, an archeological site that dates as far back as the 12th century B.C., founded by the Phoenicians.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Culture Mohamed Laaraj has overseen the opening of a new museum at Lixus, an ancient Phoenician archeological site dating to the 12th century B.C.
The Ministry of Culture opened the new facility on Saturday, April 20.
Built in the 12th century B.C. by Phoenicians and regarded as one of the oldest urban centers in North Africa, Lixus has undergone restoration and is now open to the public along with a visitor center.
The Roman empire captured the Phoenician settlement in the 1st century B.C. With the Roman empire’s decline, the Amazigh (Berber) people lived at Lixusz from the 5th to the 7th centuries A.D. before it was completely abandoned, according to the World Monuments Fund.
Spread over 62 hectares, Lixus, Laaraj said, opens a new era in the management of archaeological sites.
Speaking about the historical significance of Lixus, Laaraj said the ministry has a “great responsibility that requires an appropriate approach to preserve its authenticity for the benefit of future generations.”
Lixus, which Pliny the Elder linked to the Garden of Hesperides where the Greek hero Hercules picked the golden apples, is situated on Tchemmich Hill on the eastern bank of the Loukkos valley near the seaport town of Larache on the Atlantic coast of northern Morocco, 80 kilometers south of Tangier.
The restoration projects carried out by the ministry in partnership with foreign institutions, like the Italian embassy and the University of Siena, aimed to “raise awareness” of the importance of safeguarding Lixus’s history, which had sunk into “oblivion,” noted the minister.
Laaraj added that the site boasts important artifacts and stands out as a “universal heritage.”
The new museum contains two exhibition halls that display Phoenician, Mauritanian, Roman, and late Islamic archeological artifacts.
The ministry spent approximately MAD 12 million ($1.2 million) rehabilitating the site. The opening of the site to the public falls within the framework of Heritage Month, which Morocco celebrates between March and April every year.