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Tangier sees its Roman road destroyed

The Roman road, paved centuries ago in Tangier, has been destroyed in yet another attack on the heritage of the city.

DR
Estimated read time: 2'

Another vestige of Tangier’s history is about to disappear. The destruction of old Roman roads, paved during the Roman Africa era, in the city was denounced by social media users.

«On Sunday, March 14, excavators started destroying the road. For the time being, no one knows who is behind this massacre against an old component of the heritage of Tangier», Ahmed Ftouh, president of the Tadaoul Association for Education, Heritage and the Environment, told Yabiladi.

The still paved part of the historic monument located in the Sidi Mesmoudi district is about 100 meters long, stretching to a place called Selloum, near the Markala river. «The road used to be 7 to 8 km long. It used to connect the Roman barracks installed in Tingis (Tangier currently) to Zilis, Dchar Jdid (Had Gharbia), 30 km south of Tangier and 12 km northeast of Assilah, and up to Lixus (Larache)», Ahmed Ftouh regretted.

The city’s heritage in danger

Astonishingly, this destruction happens while the city is aware of this historical Roman legacy, and even intended to restore it. «The restoration of the Way was included in Tangier's application file for the organization of the Universal Exhibition 2012. After it failed to secure hosting rights, which went to the city of Yeosu (South Korea), this project was abandoned despite the incessant calls of the local civil society for its rehabilitation so that it does not fall into the hands of real estate barons. This is evidenced by the SOS launched in October 2019 by the office of the League for the Defense of Consumer Rights», the same source added.

Faced with little interest from the authorities, Tangier NGOs have tried to raise awareness among the inhabitants of the city and the public opinion on the importance of this historic road by carrying out hikes, with presentations on the history of Roman roads in Africa.

Tangier has already experienced similar attacks on its historical heritage. In 2019, civil society revealed the massacre of the adjacent gardens at the level of Mandoubia, the burial site of, among others, eleven Moroccan martyrs who died during the popular uprising of March 30, 1952 to protest against the assassination of the Tunisian trade union leader Farhat Hachad. In 2020, it will be the turn of the ruins of a historical monument  discovered in Plaza Spain to be covered by tons of sand and cement.

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