Amazing Roman Site: Volubilis
If you are eager to discover some of the fascinating ancient Roman ruins in Morocco, Volubilis is the place to go. Volubilis is one of the most substantial Roman remains in Africa. The site remains worthy of interest and will connect you with its history. It has been preserved for the last 2000 years and has so many flagship ruins of the Roman city. A triumphal arch (the arc of Caracalla) is a distinctive symbol of Roman architecture, which was once the main compound of Volubilis.
Some Historical Facts
- This Roman ruin is about an hour and a half-hour from Fez and around 30 to 40 minutes from Meknes. Romans left Volubilis at the end of the 3rd century AD, and then, it was inhabited by the Christian community. The inhabitants of the city spoke the Latin language for hundreds of years.
- Muslims later inhabited the city upon the arrival of Islam in Morocco. Volubilis used to be Mauretania’s capital, which was then the Berbers’ territory, indigenous of Morocco. Thus, It was formerly a Berber city.
- This ancient city used to be a very strategic place. The city’s primary source of economic strength was the olive oil trade. This is because It had hundreds of olive trees surrounded the city. It was a well-developed city and was once a flourished place back in time while the Romans controlled it.
- It holds many impressive old structures and buildings.
Some of These historical Roman remains structures are:
- Oil presses
- Carved columns
- Various buildings can be found in most Roman cities.
The history of Volubilis perfectly represents the multiple cultural influences throughout the years. These include :
It has some fascinating monuments, and these are:
- The Porte de Tingis, the Basilica and the Decumanus Maximus. Also, the Capitol and mosaics are still standing since the Roman Era.
- The arc of Caracalla remains one of the symbols Roman remains in Volubilis. It measures 8 meters in height and more than 20 meters in length.
- It holds one of the oldest female skeletons that remains since the Romans era. These skeletons are located close to olive presses.
- It has Galen’s Baths. They are the remains of the baths that were used by Romans.
Tips Before Visiting Volubilis
- In Volubilis, there are no shades, no stores and no boutiques, .etc. So, it is imperative to take water with you. It is advisable to wear a hat and/or even an umbrella to protect yourself from the hot weather.
- The temperature between May and September can reach up to 39-degree Celsius. You may prefer to visit this site outside this period if hot weather bothers you. Even though some days during summer are not as hot, Checking how the weather will look like before you decide to visit it is vital.
- There is no place to sleep over the night. Dar Zerhoune, located in Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, is the closest place to stay overnight. It is a gorgeous, well-maintained place. This city is awe-inspiring as it has alleys that offer beautiful views of the rest of the city.
- Moulay Idriss Zerhoun city has about 10,000 inhabitants. It is one of the crucial spiritual city in Morocco. It shelters the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss, the founder of Fez hundreds of years ago.
- To fully enjoy and discover Volubilis and the area, it is advisable to devote about five hours. This is because it has so many fascinating and historical remains to discover.
- The Moorish community was present and had founded Volubilis city in the third century BC. This was before the Roman Empire took over the city in 42 AD. In the seventh century, Vilibulis regained its magnificence when Arab conquerors conquered the city.
- It is Morocco’s most ancient Roman site. It has survived one of the most destructive earthquakes and survived many civil wars. The Romans left the city in 285 as the civil war widespread across the Roman empire. In 1755, a big earthquake severely damaged the site and destroyed the uninhabited city of Volubilis.
- Towards the end of the 17th century, Sultan Moulay Ismail ordered thousands of slaves to get Volubilis’s marble. These marbles were used to construct his palace, which is located in the city of Meknes.
- The topmost population of Volubilis was about 20,000 inhabitants. This is according to some historians. Currently, the site is about twenty hectares, which is nearly half of its initial size.
- The ancient city has hosted many civilizations. These include the Mauritanian period, Romans, and the Islamic period.
- Volubilis is Known in Arabic as “Walili,” It became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. It is one of the best-protected archaeological sites in Morocco.
- Volubilis is located in a very fertile plain close to Mount Zerhoun. It is snuggled among olive groves close to the city of Meknes.
- The site is now fenced off and well guarded. There is a team of about 14 guards who guards and preserve this historical site using cameras everywhere.
- There was a memorable incident in 1982. Bacchus’s Marble Statue, the Roman god of wine, disappeared, and the statue was never found.
- Roman remains, and statues are exhibited in museums, and many Blocks of stones and marbles were used for construction by the surrounding communities. The Volubilis museum was opened in 2013 after putting resources in place.
- After decades of deterioration and neglect, there are now custodians who guard this ancient site. It has taken the status of one of the most historical sites that attract tourists in the region—hundreds of thousands of visitors visit this site yearly. In 2017, his historical site attracted more than 300,000 visitors.