Whether you are a renowned history buff or simply enjoy wandering among ancient ruins wherever you find them, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to spend a few hours exploring the venerable Roman city of Volubilis…located conveniently just outside the city of Meknes.
Back in its day (3rd century BCE), Volubilis served both as an important military outpost for the Romans, whose goal it was to subdue the surrounding Berber tribes, and also as a producer and exporter of grain and olive products for the larger Roman Empire, located on the mainland of Europe. The Romans of Volubilis did produce and export mass quantities of grain, olives, and olive oil. They ultimately failed, however, in their quest to suppress the native Berber people, leaving them to inhabit the spectacular marble city when the Roman Empire abandoned it two centuries later.
The Volubilis we marvel at today has been so well preserved that UNESCO has recently added it to the List of World Heritage Sites!
During your exploration of Volubilis, you will enjoy the ruins’ garden which opens onto the city and is dotted with the lush pink and white Oleander blossoms from which the city derived its name. As you enter the city, you will pass the ancient olive press, before stepping onto the city’s impressive main thoroughfare: Decumanus Maximus. As you meander along this street, you will feel dwarfed by the massive walls and towering columns of the Forum, the Basilica, and Capitol Building!Turning right from the “Main Street” will give you the opportunity to visit several of the remaining mansions, including the “House of Euphebus,” “House of Orpheus,” and the “House of Dionysus,” where you will find complete bathing rooms and sinks still in tact! On the floors of these ancient dwelling places, which are now completely open to the elements, you will catch exquisitely detailed glimpses into the lives and myths of the ancient Roman occupants. Of the all the stunning mosaics Volubilis boasts, be sure not to miss the renowned “Diana Leaving Her Bath,” and “Bacchus, Surrounded by the Four Seasons!”
At the end of your ramblings, rest in the shade of the “Triumphal Arch” or sip some tea at the Volubilis Garden Cafe before heading on to your next destination!