MOst of the mosaics discovered at Volubilis - preserved for years under mud until the late 19th century - were found to be adorning the very upmarket apartments and villas of the people that lived in the roman city.
the Roman city of Volubilis can be seen at certain positions from Moulay Idriss in its place on the upper slopes of the plains below.
only 4km away it makes a nice walk or take a taxi.
There is a fee for entrance but the site stays open till sunset so if the ticket office has shut by the time you arrive if for a late roam - of which sunset from Volubilis is a nice time to be there - the guardian will let you in but probably not charge you. You can gain entrance up by the wide gate rather than at the ticket office at the lower entrance where the café also is.
There are toilets up by the wide gate.
Allow a good hour or two to see the site - the mosaics were famed for being in such good condition when they were uncovered only fairly recently in the late 19th century. On my recent return 10 years since first visiting Volubilis im sure the mosaics have deteriorated in that time. They do not seem to be as vivid and colourful as I had in my mind from my first visit.
Interesting history of the romans at Volubilis. The guy in charge was Juba who was actually a Berber who married the daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra - so they say! His son though that took over from him was killed by Claudius at 40 years of age in Rome.
After you pass the main gait you come across a door on your right hand. That is the door to the Royal Palace (see the 3rd picture).
When I arrived at the gaits of the Mosque and tomb there was a no picture sign, so I was not able to take pictures @ the tomb. After that you can enter anothe hall where these is more tombs.One of them belonged to Moulay Rashed, who was a Servant of Mouly Idress. Rashid and Idress fled together from Madina in the Arbian Peninsula following the defeat in the battle of Fakh. Rashid was also responsible in looking after and raising Idress II .
The tomb and the mosque was built by Moulay Ismail, there was something stating that this mosques had significant renovation done by Mohammed 6th.
This where you'll find every thing. The mausoleum, internet cafes, Resturants, Shoping, even if you are looking for an apartemnt. I was in mouly idress in the summer and the main square was full of peope up to 11 pm. You could still see people after mid night. The resturants are very good and very affordable. It does not matter what resturant you chose, they are more or less the same. There plenty of cafes. If you are looking for a place to sit, drink and watch people. This square is the place to be.
These 4 things are very close to each others and can be seen in 1/2 hour or so
Kasbah , it is Just a gate with is leads to one alley only. I was told there was another Kasbah but I did not get to see it. To get to this one walk up hill from the bus station and you'll see a car park on the left hand side, walk towards it and you'll see the gate.
Saturday Market and the Cylindrical Menerate , after you are done with seeing the Kasbah return to the street and keep on walking up hill and you'll see the green minaret,on your right hand side. This is not connected to the mausoleum of Molay Idress like one of the ohter tip suggested. If you continiou walking uphill you'll also see steps to you right. These steps will lead you to the place where the market is held on Saturday (I think). I did not include a picture for this place
If you get back on the rood you'll and keep walking you'll see another steps leading to a building to you right hand. This buildinb is home to the ministry of culture. There was nothing going on when I was in the city but I was told there is a photo exhibit or local art gallery once in a while, so if you are in town drop by and see if anything is going on.
Haroon is aquiduct system that brings water into town, the view is spectacular. This was buil by the french in 1920
Elhemma is hot springs just outside of town. It is near the queries where the roman got the stone to build Volibilus. What is interesting is the presence of marks and evidence of the cutting. It is not far from town but you'll need one of the locals to show it to you. We went to El Hemma and Haroon by a car but I was told it is very walk able distance. The locals usually have a bath @ this location
The Shrine and Zaouia of Moulay Idriss is closed to non-Muslims though you can walk up as far as the first courtyard and non one seems to mind if you take pictures from here. There is a low bar in front of this entrance which marks the limit point for non-Muslims. If you climb to the terraces above the Khiber quarter of the city you get a fantastic overview of the shrine. It’s not at all obvious how big it is from ground-level but at the terrace its dimensions are much more obvious.
So why is this such an important site? Moulay Idriss was the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed and he is seen by many Moroccan’s as the founding father of their country. He introduced Islam to the Berber tribes and by all account she was a fairly pious man, certainly in comparison to later Moroccan rulers.
Moulay Idriss is split into two quarters - Khiber and Tasga - which rise vertically on either side of the Mausoleum. If you climb to the top of either of these quarters there are excellent views of the town and you get a good idea of the size and layout of the mausoleum. The terraces can be tricky to find and you will be approached by local boys who will try and take you up to the top (for a small fee of course). We had pretty good directions in our guidebook so we went on our own though they did follow us for a while and they tried to send us the wrong way at a junction near a water fountain.
The terraces on the Khiber side are higher and there is a café at the top so we decided to follow this route. To get here: walk up to the entrance to the mausoleum and go through the arches to your left (as you face the mausoleum) and follow the path until you reach a water fountain. The path splits here and you should take the right fork (regardless of what any young locals might suggest) . After about 25 metres from the fountain you’ll see steps on your left which lead all the way to the terraces at the top. The café at the top - Terrasse Sidi Abdallah el Hajjam - is signposted from these steps so it’s easy to find your way from here.
Even though non-muslim visitors are not allowed to visit the shrine and the sanctuary around the saint's grave, the "zaouia", it's worth while to have a look from the outside. The holy district is marked by a wooden bar. Here, at the entrance to the "zaouia" with it's shrine, mosque and school, you have to stop. But you can catch a glimpse at the small street leading into the sanctuary. The style of architecture you can see, is late 17th / early 18th century, from the times of Moulay Ismail (1672-1727).
In front of the "zaouia", there are a number of stands with devotional objects, candy, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Unfortunately, except for Muslims, there is not a lot to investigate in this holy city. It is forbidden for non-believers to spend the night within the town and the mauseleum of Moulay Idriss and the mosque are likewise off limits.
The only thing to do is to find a hilltop overlooking this eye-pleasing village and then ride through the narrow streets while being glared at by the residents. Needless to say, non-Muslims are not warmly greeted within the confines of Moulay Idriss.
Moulay Idriss was the great-grandson of the Prophet. He fled Arabia in the late 700s due to deadly feuding amongst his clansman and fellow heirs to the Caliphate. Moulay Idriss arrived in Morocco in 787 and quickly became the leader of the Moroccan Berbers and became the patriarch of the Idrissid dynasty. Alas, Moulay Idriss only had a scant five years to enjoy his royal throne before he was poisoned on the orders of Baghdad. However, before he passed Moulay Idriss founded the imperial city of Fez and this most holy city which bears his name.
In Moulay Idriss you can walk up to the Petit (small) and Grand Terrace.
Don't be afraid not to find it because young children will be happy to accompany you there for a few dirhams...
We had the chance to get a good lot of explanation from an old man who told us how sacred Moulay Idriss is. It is, according to him, the third sacrest place in the Moslimworld (Mekka and Medina precede)..
Going 5 times to Moulay Idriss equals one Mekka pelgrimage...
The only Cylindrical Minaret in Morocco is situated in the hilly small path. When you continue to walk up the path, you can get a great view of the town.
Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss is the object of veneration and the reason for the country's greatest annual moussem in late August. Non- muslims are not allowed to enter beyond this point.
This main square is the entrance point to the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss. Look for the three arched gateway.