GPS coordinates: 34°00’24.2″N 6°49’24″W (34.006718, -6.823343)
Entrance: 10 MAD (in 2019)
Chellah is pronounced like shellia with accentuation at letter “a”. Otherwise nobody will understand where you go, unless you point at the map.
Chellah is a 3 in 1 sight: ruins of ancient settlement (archaeological site), necropolis and a piece of nature (garden).
Ancient settlement named Sala was founded by Phoenicians in the 3d century BC. In 40 y. BC it belonged to Romans who added the 2d word “Colonia” to its name. Romans were using the port as an intermediate stop of merchant vessels on their way to Anfa (Casablanca) until the end of 5th century AD.
Then the town was populated with Christianized Berbers. In 7th century the town was destroyed by Arab conquerors. In 1030 on the opposite bank of river was founded Sale and Chellah was abandoned.
After archeological excavations you will see the ancient Roman road, remains of walls and various architectural fragments.
Almohad dynasty started to use abandoned city as a necropolis. Later Marinid dynasty inherited this tradition – they erected mosque with minaret and the royal burial vault. This architectural complex was named Chellah. Today this complex is also in ruins – because of Great Lisbon earthquake in 1755.
Further this place was turned to a garden with orange trees and paths. Tranquility and ruins attracted storks and now every year in March and April one can watch them hatch and take care of their chicks.
Also a Jazz festival is held in Chellah annually.
Take map of Rabat & Sale with you – just click the star and it will be saved in your Google account. Any locations in this region that I will add later will appear on your map.