Chellah–Royal Kingdoms of the Past

Posted in Africa, Blog, Morocco

The fertile plains inland from Rabat drew settlers as far back as the 8th Century B.C. The Phoenicians and the Romans set up trading posts in the estuary of the Bou Regreg River in Sala, today’s Chellah. The Roman settlement Sala Colonia lasted long after the fall of the Roman Empire, but was abandoned and fell into ruin–until in the 14th century the sultan Abou al-Hassan built a fortress on top of the Roman ruins. His necropolis, towers and wall stand today, alongside the excavated Roman town. Its a lovely, evocative place, with fruit trees, wildflowers, the ruined Roman marketplace and statues and the remains of the Islamic complex, with its elegant minaret now topped with a stork’s nest. A colony of storks has taken over the ruins, and my visit on a perfect spring day was punctuated by the curious clacking sounds of mating pairs.

 

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