Salé (meaning old walled city), is an ancient city on the right bank of the ‘Bou Regreg’ river. The history of Rabat and Salé are closely linked together. The ‘Bou Regreg’ river divides the agglomeration of the two places (Mouline, 2008).

Salé is the oldest city on the Atlantic coast and was probably founded by the ‘Phoenicians’ and the ‘Cathaginians’. The site was first occupied by the Roman settlement of ‘Sala Colonia’ (or ‘Shella’). In the 10th century, the ‘Banu Ifran’ dynasty (a Berber tribe) constructed a settlement where the city currently stands. In the 11th century, the ‘Banu Ifran’ dynasty also built the ‘Great Mosque of Salé’ and the ‘Banu Ashare’ quarter. The ramparts of the Medina of Salé, built under the ‘Almohads’, are among the oldest defence works of Morocco. The ramparts are flanked by towers and punctuated by urban gates in the pure tradition of the medieval enclosures of the Moslem occident.

In the 13th century, during the ‘Marinid’ period, the defence system was supplemented and consolidated. After 1627, Salé became the home of the republic of ‘Bou Regreg’ and a base for pirates. During the 17th century, Rabat was known as ‘New Salé’, or ‘Salé la neuve’ (in French), which explains Salé as the oldest city on the river. Nowadays, Salé is home to 800,000 people and mainly serves as a commuter town for Rabat. For an extensive historical review of Salé and Rabat, we refer to (Mouline, 2008).

Sale is part of the tourism region ‘Centre Atlantique‘ of Morocco.