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Posted by on Apr 23, 2012 in Africa, Explore, Morocco, Travel Info

What the Romans left in Morocco: Volubilis

What the Romans left in Morocco: Volubilis

Volubilis is a UNESCO World Heritage site just North of Meknes, Morocco. The Romans built this ancient city on a plateau next to the Zerhoun Mountains in the third century B.C.. The Ruins are extensive, well preserved, and beautiful; They are not easy to pronounce – Volubilis, Volubilis, Volubilis.

The Romans may have come and gone, won battles and lost them – but the architecture they leave behind is always beautiful.

After its founding in the third century, Volubilis became a wealthy and prominent city in Morocco. It became so great that the Romans incorporated it into the Kingdom of Mauretania and it was later declared the administratice center of the province of Mauretania Tingitana. It was later declared the capital of the dynasty of Idriss I.

When standing in the ruins you look out at the surrounding fields lush with green rolling hills. These hills are actually very fertile plains and helped Volubilis to prosper and become a major producer and exporter of grain, fish, fruits, and olive oil which it sent back to Rome and other European countries.

The site is dominated by the Basilica with 8 perfect arches that still remain intact.

Beside the Basilica are the towering columns of the Capitol ruins which was where the sacrificial altar was located.

Further afield are the outlines of what would of been houses. And within the walls of the houses still present are the well-preserved and beautiful mosaic floors depicting mythological scenes.

There are also Bath houses which are still distinguishable and you can see where the fountains would of been.

Standing in the centre of the ruins oh so brilliantly is the Triumphal Arch. With decorative arches and columns the Arch was built to commemorate the achievements of Lucius Septimius Bassianus- the Roman emperor Caracalla.

Many of the prized discoveries in the Ruins including bronzes and pottery have all been moved to the archaeology museum in Rabat.

Volubilis is a beautiful place to wander by yourself. You do not need a guide but they can be very informative – I stood close to a family on a guided tour and the information was great but nothing I hadn’t already read about myself.

I simply enjoyed finding a cozy wall that wasn’t too hard for me to jump my butt up onto and sit and look around. With the surrounding fields and olive trees, the mountains behind, the Splash of white that is Moulay Idriss in the distance, and wild flowers peaking through every crevice of the stones; the Ruins are a very peaceful location.

Volubilis is a short jaunt from Meknes via taxi and you can snag a taxi for the day to tour both The Ruins and the nearby city of Moulay Idriss for the fair price of 100 DH ($12).

And these are the friends I met in Fes and slyly coerced into joining me on my Volubilis day-trip!

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