The Chellah necropolis: Romans and Merinis in an architectural coexistence

The enclosure surrounded by an imposing wall that surprises every visitor located in the outskirts of the Moroccan economic capital, hides one of the most amazing architectural jewels of the city. The necropolis of Chellah, in Rabat, is an enclosure flanked by high and thick walls that, after crossing them, will seem to cross another dimension.

With a lush forest, upon entering we will see the remains of the archaeological site responsible for the history of Rabat on the horizon. A world heritage that extends over seven hectares and was originally the first habitable place in the current capital of Morocco. Chellah, was built to be a phoenician river port for trade in the area. Commercial capital of Morocco, also two thousand years before, Chellah, was a roman province that consolidated its influence as an open city, curiously, without a wall, of which, now only its remains remain.


Probably, the civilization that rose and left the great architectural legacy that can still be seen on the outskirts of Rabat, constituted the oldest human population established at the mouth of the Bu Regreg River. The phoenician and Carthaginian populations, civilizations founded in Morocco, had the Rabat area as a settlement for some time, which makes this necropolis and the city itself as an incalculable historical heritage of the country.

Nowadays you can see the remains of the roman city as the main road or “Decumanus Maximus”, a forum, a monumental fountain and a triumphal arch. It was abandoned for several centuries until the benimerines arrived, who founded the necropolis. From this you can still recognize an imposing forum, which has access through a large monumental door, a sanitary facilities room, a Muslim religious building, of which the minaret is still clearly preserved and several funeral rooms where the tomb of the Sultan of the Merin dynasty Abu Al-Hasan.

The meriní necropolis and the roman city coexist in an ecosystem where the history of an enclosure that shines by the amount of history it has to tell is consolidated. Settling both sides of the main roman road, which makes this place an ideal place to understand the historical context that gives rise to the current Rabat.

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