Just when you thought that you are done with your Morocco trip and had enough of those UNESCO World Heritage sites, this northern neighborhood of Meknes awaits to surprise you with its historic ruins that draws huge number of history enthusiasts and shutterbugs from around the world. Your trip to Morocco is probably incomplete, if you have not clicked a selfie with the ruins of Volubilis in the backdrop.
Commonly considered to be the ancient capital of the kingdom of Mauretania, Volubilis is a partly excavated Berber and Roman city in Morocco that’s situated 4 km northwest of Moulay Idriss. Today this well preserved Roman colonial town is UNESCO World Heritage site. One just can’t afford to omit this visual treat from the list of places to visit in Morocco. Built on a shallow slope below the Zerhoun Mountain, Volubilis stands on a ridge above the valley of Khoumane overlooking a rolling fertile plain.
Visit Morocco to experience the stunning Volubilis. Spring is the ideal season to visit this historic site, when wildflowers blossom in midst of abandoned stones surrounded by lush green fields.
- Public Buildings
The Basilica and the Capitoline Temple are the two major public buildings that is readily visible at the center of the city. Completed during the rule of Macrinus in the early 3rd century, it is one of the finest Roman basilicas in Africa. The interior has two rows of columns, whereas the outer wall of the basilica, which is faced with columns, overlooks the forum where markets were held.
The Capitoline Temple stands right behind the basilica. An altar stands in the courtyard in front of 13 steps leading up to this Corinthian columned temple. This was partly restored in 1955 followed by a substantial restoration in 1962 with reconstruction of 10 out of 13 steps, walls of the cella and the columns. There were three sets of public baths around this area too. A visit to these historic remains on your Morocco vacation can be a lifetime experience.
- Triumphal Arc
Built in 217 AD in honor of Emperor Caracalla and his mother, Julia Domna; which was reconstructed in the 1930s and later modified again in the 1960s, Volubilis’ Triumphal Arch would have been quite a sight to behold in its original form. The hillock to the east provides an awesome view over the entire site.
- Houses and Palaces
The entire site has well decorated mansions as well as simple mud brick structure for city’s poor inhabitants. The rich and wealthy had elaborate houses with large mosaics. Archaeologists have named the houses after their principal mosaics, they are – House of Orpheus, House of the Athlete, House of the Ephebe, House of the Knight, House of the Labors of Hercules and House of Venus. Taking a stroll along these historic ruins can be truly enchanting and are the best places to visit in Morocco.
- Villa of Idris-I
A series of interlocking courtyard buildings along with a large hammam was found outside the walls of the city on the floodplain of the Oued Khoumane. Many dated coins and potteries from the reign of Idris-I identifies this location as his headquarters, and is a great site to explore the past. Don’t forget to click pictures of this historic ruins on your trip to Morocco.