The Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, who founded several colonies in Morocco, probably inhabited the banks of the Bou Regreg river, where later the city of Sala was created by the Romans. The Roman town known as Sala Colonia was 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. Sala was a center of Christianity since the second century.
One of the two main Roman roads in Morocco reached the Atlantic through Iulia Constantia Zilil (Asilah), Lixus (Larache) and Chellah. Another may have been built toward south, from Sala to modern Casablanca, then called Anfa. The Romans had two main naval ouposts on the Atlantic: Sala Colonia near modern Rabat and Lixus.
Sala remained linked to the Roman Empire even in the fourth century after the withdrawal of Roman legions to the area of Roman Tingis and Septem in northern Mauretania Tingitana: A Roman military unit remained there until the end of the fifth century. Some objects, including elements of Visigothic and Byzantine belt even attest to the persistence of commercial or political contacts between Sala and Roman Europe until the Byzantine presence in berber north Africa during the seventh century.
The site slowly disappeared during the Middle Ages and was totally abandoned in 1154 AD in favour of nearby Salé. Many structures in Sala Colonia were damaged by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. The site has been converted to a garden and tourist venue. Actually it is included in the metropolitan area of Rabat.
World Heritage Status
- Mauretania Tingitana
- Roman 'Coloniae' in Berber Africa
- Christian Berbers
- Iulia Campestris Babba
- Roman roads in Morocco
- Justin McGuinness, Footprint Morocco, 2003, 560 pages, ISBN 1-903471-63-X
- Sala Colonia (in French)
- "Sites Antiques". www.minculture.gov.ma (in French). Rabat, Morocco: Ministry of Culture, Kingdom of Morocco. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- Boube, J. "Éléments de ceinturon wisigothiques et byzantins trouvés au Maroc".Bulletin d'archéologie marocaine, volume=XV, 1983-84.pages=281-297
- "Rabat, Modern Capital and Historic City: a Shared Heritage". UNESCO. 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
- "Rabat". World Heritage Site. September 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
- "Rabat Named UNESCO World Heritage Site". Caribbean News Digital. 2012-11-23. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
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