Marveling at an Ancient Kingdom: Nine Photos of Volubilis that Fascinate

Obscurely located in the Moroccan highlands sits a fascinating Roman and Berber ruin named Volubilis.  Commonly considered the capital of the ancient kingdom of Mauretania, Volubilis certainly wowed me.  Rarely will you find such a well-preserved ruin with almost unlimited access.  Let this great city capture your imagination while you enjoy these nine photos of Volubilis.

Marveling at an Ancient Kingdom: Nine Photos of Volubilis that Fascinate

Nine Photos of Volubilis: Volubilis covers roughly 42 hectares (100 acres) with a 2.6 km (1.6 mi) area of walls.
Nine Photos of Volubilis: Volubilis covers roughly 42 hectares (100 acres) with a 2.6 km (1.6 mi) area of walls.

# 1 in Photos of Volubilis – Interior of the Basilica

Founded over two thousand years ago in the 3rd Century, Volubilis serves as one of the best preserved Roman and Berber ruins.  The quality and accessibility of the ruins are unparalleled.  Really you can pretty much wander wherever you want and explore this fascinating site.

Eight Photos of Volubilis: Volubilis's prosperity stemmed mostly from olive growing.
Eight Photos of Volubilis: Volubilis’s prosperity stemmed mostly from olive growing.

 

# 2 in Photos of Volubilis – The Decumanus Maximus

The Decumanus Maximus represents the main road in Volubilis, running east to west.  I paused for a moment to imagine what type of traffic passed along this route thousands of years ago.  As I placed my hand on the archway, I felt the heat from the sun and said and audible “thank you” for being given the privilege of touring such a magical city.

Nine Photos of Volubilis. Local tribes conquered Volubilis in 285. Rome never retook it due to Volubilis' remoteness and indefensibility on the south-western border of the Roman Empire.
Nine Photos of Volubilis. Local tribes conquered Volubilis in 285. Rome never retook it due to Volubilis’ remoteness and indefensibility on the south-western border of the Roman Empire.

 

# 3 in Photos of Volubilis: Interior of the North Baths Fed by the Aqueduct

Frying under the beating Morocco sun, I wished the baths were still in working order.  Luckily for me I’m accustomed to such heat, considering I call Mexico home. However, other travelers showed visible wear, stopping often to catch their breath, hiding under overstretched hands and umbrellas.

Nine Photos of Volubilis. Volubilis was occupied till about 1,000 AD. Both Christians and Islamists occupied the city at one point or another.
Nine Photos of Volubilis. Volubilis was occupied till about 1,000 AD. Both Christians and Islamists occupied the city at one point or another.

 

# 4 in Photos of Volubilis – The Capitoline Temple

The Capitoline Temple uses a Romanesque tetrastyle architectural design.  A council would convene here to decide things like war decrees.

Nine Photos of Volubilis. Volubilis became the seat of Idris ibn Abdallah in the late 8th century. Idris ibn Abdallah served as the founder of the Idrisid dynasty and the state of Morocco.
Nine Photos of Volubilis. Volubilis became the seat of Idris ibn Abdallah in the late 8th century. Idris ibn Abdallah served as the founder of the Idrisid dynasty and the state of Morocco.

 

# 5 in Photos of Volubilis – Original Mosaic Floor

The quality and design of these mosaic floors stunned me with the level of detail.  Lasting for centuries under the elements, I cannot even imagine how and why they are still standing.  Furthermore, it’s rare that I could get so close to such an invaluable piece of history.

Nine Photos of Volubilis. Volubilis had been abandoned by the 11th century after Fes became the real main of power.
Nine Photos of Volubilis. Volubilis had been abandoned by the 11th century after Fes became the main seat of power.

 # 6 in Photos of Volubilis – A Series of Columns

These columns have been standing roughly as long as the columns in the Acropolis in Greece.

Nine Photos of Volubilis. Finally in the 19th century the ruins were identified as the ancient city of Volubilis.
Nine Photos of Volubilis. Finally in the 19th century the ruins were identified as the ancient city of Volubilis.

 

# 7 Photo of Volubilis – Mosaic of the Four Seasons

This mosaic of the four seasons filled the floor of the dining room in the House of Dionysos.  Normally such an ancient artifact would be sitting behind glass in a museum. But in Volubilis you can marvel at this mosaic it its original environment, under the backdrop of the Moroccan mountains.

Nine Photos of Volubilis. Now a days Volubilis is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in part for being so well-preserved.
Nine Photos of Volubilis. Now a days Volubilis is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in part for being so well-preserved.

 

# 8 Photo of Volubilis – Mosaic Floor

The swastika seen here was an ancient religious icon representing divinity and spirituality. Historically, it held a positive meaning for thousands of years.  It was only until the 1930s in Natz Germany where it took on a sinister meaning.  Unfortunately recent history has tainted what was otherwise an auspicious symbol.

Nine Photos of Volubilis. Volubilis was constructed on a flat incline below the Zerhoun mountain, resting on a ridge above the valley of Khoumane.
Nine Photos of Volubilis. Volubilis was constructed on a flat incline below the Zerhoun mountain, resting on a ridge above the valley of Khoumane.

 

#9 Photo of Volubilis – The Arch of Caracalla

This triumphal arch was constructed around 217 AD in honor of Emperor Caracalla.   Carcalla granted Roman citizenship to his residents and excused them from paying taxes.  I think if my ruler allowed me to stop paying taxes, I might just build a moment in his honor, too!

Nine Photos of Volubilis. Since the late Neolithic Period, Volubilis has been occupied, roughly 5,000 years ago.
Nine Photos of Volubilis. Since the late Neolithic Period, Volubilis has been occupied, roughly 5,000 years ago.

 

Getting to Volubilis

Volubilis rests two hours east from the Moroccan capital of Rabat.  I rented a car and drove, but I would not advise adopting such a stressful venture.  Next time I would just hire a private driver.  And as Volubilis sits right on the route to Fez, it can be used as an easy stop over on the way.

 


READ MORE ARTICLES ABOUT MOROCCO

A Visit to the Fez Tanneries in Morocco: The Brutal Reality Behind Leather   

Sharing My Top Travel Tips for Morocco

True Tales of My Week Driving in Morocco

An Expedition to Chefchaouen: Exploring Morocco’s Blue Pearl

Exploring the Extravaganza that Comprises the Marrakech Medina

My Travel Nightmare: a Tour in Marrakech Gone Awry

 

 

Follow:
Matt Weatherbee
Matt Weatherbee

Hi, I’m Matt.  In 2008 I quit my job, sold everything and drove from Boston to Mexico to start a business.  Now I live and work in the Carribean, and spend my free time traveling the globe.  Learn more.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

[instagram-feed]