Ksar es-Seghir

Ksar es-Seghir

القصر الصغير

Ksar Sghir
Ksar es-Seghir.jpg
Ksar es-Seghir is located in Morocco
Ksar es-Seghir
Ksar es-Seghir
Location in Morocco
Coordinates: 35°50′31″N 5°33′31″W / 35°50′31″N 5°33′31″W / 35.84194; -5.55861
Country Morocco
RegionTanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima
 • Total10,995
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (WEST)

Ksar es-Seghir (Arabic: القصر الصغير‎, al-Qasr al-Seghir), also known by numerous other spellings and names, is a small town on the Mediterranean coast in the Jebala region of northwest Morocco, between Tangier and Ceuta, on the right bank of the river of the same name. Administratively, it belongs to Fahs-Anjra Province and the region of Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima. By the census of 2004, it had a population of 10,995 inhabitants.[1]

The city is circular, a design unusual in medieval Moroccan town planning. It is built from brick and ashlar masonry and flanked by semi-circular masonry towers. There are three monumental doors in the wall, each flanked by square towers. The Bāb al-Bahr (door of the sea), has an elbowed entrance for defensive purposes. These doors were used both for communication and trade and for taxation purposes.[2]


The Moroccan Arabic name, meaning "The Small Castle", can be transcribed l-Qṣər ṣ-Ṣġir or Ksar Sghir. The name distinguishes it from Ksar-el-Kebir ("The Big Castle"), which is farther south. The Spanish name used to translate this as Castillejo but now transliterates it as Alcázar Seguir or Alcázarseguir; its Portuguese equivalent is Alcácer-Ceguer. Under the Almoravids and Almohads, it was known as Qasr al-Majaz, Ksar al-Majar, or Ksar al-Djawaz ("castle en route") because it was an important embarkation port for Moroccan troops on their way to Spain.[2] Other names for the Muslim fortification include the 11th-century geographer al-Bakri's al-Qasr al-Awwal ("The First Castle") and the 13th-century historian Abdelwahid al-Marrakushi's Ksar Masmuda ("Masmuda Castle"), after the local Berber tribe.

In antiquity, it was known by the names Lissa[3] and Exilissa (Greek: Ἐξίλισσα),[4] which Lipiński conjectures represent the survival of the Phoenician settlement's name Ḥiq or Ḥeq-še-Elišša ("Bay of Elissa").[5] Note, however, that Pliny and Lipiński place the ancient settlement further east, closer to Benzú.[5] The Byzantine Greek name was Exilýssa (Εξιλύσσα).