The Volubilis ruins, a former Roman town of power that became a Berber city, lay in the North African country of Morocco. Google the name Volubilis to see pictures of its ruins, and you will know why I find it an exciting and attractive subject. Even as a wreck, the town is located on a high plain that offers a breath-taking view of mountains and a fertile valley behind it. Some intricate mosaic tile floors of its houses still survive.
Volubilis has a complicated and long history of being captured. As conquerors came and went, some of their culture and DNA remained to blend with the indigenous Berber population. Morocco sits strategically on both the Mediterranean Sea and the eastern Atlantic Ocean, including the southern portion of Gibraltar’s Strait. Thus, the area could not be ignored by the great powers of the day, which included the Phoenicians, the Romans, and the Carthaginians.
How to reach Volubilis
The quickest and most straightforward way to reach Volubilis is to hire a taxi for the return trip. A half-day outing from nearby Meknes should cost Dh300, with a couple of hours at the site and a quick stop at Moulay Idriss Zerhoun (stay the night, if you have the time and budget, it is worth it).
Travel Guide to Volubilis
Although the least exceptional part of the site, the olive presses here show the economic foundation of ancient Volubilis, much as the rich olive groves in the neighboring area do today – look for the stone storage vats and flat presses about the site.
Just next to the House of Orpheus are the remains of Galen’s Thermal Baths. Although essentially broken, they certainly show the highly advanced underfloor heating in this Roman hammam. Opposite the steam room is the toilets – where residents could go about their work and have a chat simultaneously.
The Capitol, Basilica, and 100-sq-meter Forum are, constructed on a high point. The Capitol, dedicated to the Triad of Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva, dates back to 218 CE; the Forum and Basilica lie directly to its north. The redone columns of the Basilica are ordinarily topped with storks’ nests – a stunning Volubilis image if the birds are singing and nesting at the time of your visit. Throughout the Forum is a bunch of plinths carved with Latin inscriptions that would have preserved statues of the great and good. Keep your sparkling eyes out for the carved stone drain-hole cover – an understated symbol of Roman civil engineering.
The famous marble Triumphal Arch was constructed in 217 CE in honor of wicked Emperor Caracalla and his lovely mother, Julia Domna. The arch, which was formerly topped with a bronze chariot, was restored in the 1930 CEs, and the mistakes made then were ultimately rectified in the 1960s CE. The hillock to the east presents a splendid view over the complete site.
Things to do in Volubilis
- Relax and stroll across the maze-like alleys and streets. Bring snacks, sun protection, and water.
- Picture yourself as a Roman Emperor, and explore the princely ruins across the valleys.
- There is an abundance of mountains and green pathways in Volubilis, making for an epic hike that brings nature and antiquity together. Pack essentials before exploring the hike.
- Please pay close attention to the sumptuous tiles that have been renovated to their original condition and click numerous pictures for your millennial social media handles.
Visit Volubilis for its’ ancient capitol building, gorgeous thermal baths, rich and mysterious history, and an array of natural wonders surrounding this region.