If you happen to be learning about Morocco you may like to visit the country’s version of Stonehenge: the Monoliths of M’Soura. This Neolithic site is home to a great stone circle in some ways similar to the one located on the plains of Salisbury, England.
The site rests on a prominent knoll in the hamlet of Soura, about seven kilometers southeast of Sidi El Yamani, a larger village only a bus or taxi ride away from Asilah or Larache, two ocean-side resort cities. However, once you reach Yamani you may need a 4×4 vehicle to negotiate the seven-kilometer trek to Soura. Alternatively, you may go on foot, ride a bicycle or even rent a donkey.
You will likely need the expertise of local guide or the services of the site’s custodian to truly experience the site. (An in-country guide may be able to arrange a visit as part of larger regional tour packages.)
The ring of crafted stone monoliths was part of an ancient burial mound or tumulus. They were arranged in a near-perfect ellipse. While many of the stones have fallen down or become broken over time, the presence of 167 intact stones makes it a breathtaking site, one with mystery surrounding it. The highest of the monoliths measures just over five meters high and is called El Uted (the Pointer). Over the centuries, M’Soura was quarried for its finely-wrought stones, most of which were incorporated into buildings and walls.
The monoliths are considered by many to be no less impressive examples of megalithic architecture than the sites at Stonehenge, Tursachan Calanais or Newgrange. Looking at the weathered stones that remain, you can see that the standards employed for not only quarrying, but also dressing, transporting and placing the stones were of amazing quality for the time period.
Not much is known about the people who may have constructed the stone ring that lines the prehistoric tomb, though some stories have been handed down by the locals and then shared with interested travelers. Additionally, some Greek-influenced legends suggest that the Monoliths of M’Soura were part of the tomb for a mythical giant called Anthe or Antæus.
Travelers already in Asilah for some fun in the sun or a restful stay may be intrigued by historical nature of the Monoliths of M’Soura. From that point of departure, you would only need to travel twenty-five kilometers southeast to reach the site. Others may want to check out the Roman Ruins of Lixus, located just five kilometers to the north of the city.
Written by Shaun Kilgore.
Photo by Alexbip.