Chellah

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Chellah, () or Sala Colonia is a necropolis and complex of ancient Roman Mauretania TingitanaJustin McGuinness, Footprint Morocco, 2003, 560 pages, ISBN 190347163X and medievalKen Bernstein, Morocco, 2001, Hunter Publishing, Inc, 64 pages ISBN 2884520031 ruins at Rabat, Morocco. It is the most ancient human settlement on the mouth of the Bou Regreg River.

History

The Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, who founded several colonies in Morocco, probably inhabited the banks of the Bou Regreg. Chellah is the site of the ruins of the Roman town known as Sala Colonia, referred to as Sala by Ptolemy. Excavations show an important port city with ruined Roman architectural elements including a decumanus maximus or principal Roman way, a forum and a triumphal arch.

One of the two main Roman roads in Morocco reached the Atlantic through Iulia Constantia Zilil (Asilah), Lixus (Larache) and Sala Colonia. Another may have been built toward south, from Sala Colonia to modern Casablanca, then called Anfa. The Romans had two main naval ouposts on the Atlantic: Sala near modern Rabat and Mogador in north of Agadir. Roman expeditions sailed from there to find the Canary islands.

The site was abandoned in 1154 in favour of nearby Salé. The Almohad dynasty used the ghost town as a necropolis. In the mid-14th century, a Merinid sultan, Abu l-Hasan, built monuments and the main gate, dated to 1339. These later Merinid additions included a mosque,...
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