My family and I visited the archeological site of Volubilis on the 28th of October, as part of a day trip from Fes.
Volubilis is an ancient town that was first inhabited about 5 000 years ago by the Berbers. It had been invaded and conquered by many groups throughout history, including the Roman Empire during the 1st century C.E. Volubilis became the farthest outpost of the Romans until 285 when it fell back to local control. By the 8th century C.E., the Idriss family took the town and declared it as the royal city. Two hundred years later, in approximately 1000 C.E., the city was abandoned, and the royal city was moved to Fes. The ruins were devastated in 1700 by a tremendous earthquake, and were later rediscovered and uncovered during the early 1900s.
Volubilis is located about 85 kilometers from Fes or 35 kilometers from the city of Meknes. This area has very fertile soil, allowing for a lot of olive trees and grains to grow. Volubilis was also strategically protected by the two mountain ranges on either side, making the city hard to invade. The mountains also gave the city water through its natural springs. These are some of the main reasons that people settled in this location.
As the town had so many resources, it flourished. At one point, during Roman rule Volubilis housed more then 20,000 people! As Volubilis had become such a large Roman town, it contained a basilica, multiple temples, triumphal arch, and a forum, all of which we saw. There are many coloured tile mosaics that were the floors of the larger villas that are in pristine condition that are still outside exposed to the elements. Most of the mosaics represented an idea or told a story, such as the Zodiac, the Four Seasons, and one of Bacchus and wife Adriane, with Eros.
Overall, I really enjoyed visiting Volubilis because I found it very interesting to see the layout of a Roman town, not just read about it (PJO/HOO anybody?), and it was amazing to see buildings that had survived since the 1st century C.E.! I also really loved how you could touch the ruins. The only objects that you couldn’t touch were the beautifully preserved mosaics in the historic villas. If you are ever in Morocco, I highly recommend visiting Volubilis.