Volubilis is definitely an ancient Roman city where you should be careful about keeping a good eye with the ground. There are many mosaics here and an impressive quantity of them are in excellent conditions. Practically all that are of much value are fenced in, but not more than what allows them to be easily looked at.
Ironically all are fenced in in order to save them from the wear and tear of visitors' feet and shoes. Yet, the mosaics are really nothing more than decorated floors.
There are mainly three houses that you should stop by: House of the Euphebus right next to the triumphal arch; the House of Orpheus to the south near the olive oil presses; and the house of Dionysus near the Decumanus Maximus.
Favorite thing: The forum of Volubilis is typical to the Roman town. But with a population of about 20.000, it still achieved impressive size. The columns still standing here are more than high enough to dwarf most people.
Favorite thing: No Roman town of any particular size could be without the important military and seremonical structure of the triumphal arch. In Volubilis it is placed at the end of the main street Decumanus Maximus. And after the triumphal arch there is nothing to be found of ancient ruins, only fields and grass. Its size is not the most impressive, but it is in good shape, and is striking if you step out into the fields of no ruins and look back at it.
Volubilis was a Roman settlement constructed on what was probably a Carthaginian city, dating from 3rd century BC. Volubilis was a central administrative city for this part of Roman Africa, responsible for the grain producing in this fertile region, and exports to Rome. Volubilis was also administering contacts with the Berber tribes which the Romans never managed to suppress, but who only came as far as to cooperate with the Romans for mutual benefits.
Unlike so many other Roman cities, Volubilis was not abandoned after the Romans lost their foothold in this part of Africa in the 3rd century. Even the Latin language survived for centuries, and as not replaced before the Arabs conquered North Africa in the late 7th century.
People continued to live in Volubilis for more than 1,000 years more. Volubilis was first abandoned in the 18th century, when it was demolished in order to provide for building materials for the construction of the palaces of Moulay Ismail in nearby Meknes. If that demolishing had not arrived, Volubilis could have become one of the best preserved Roman sites anywhere.
The main area of Volubilis, and the only area that really attracts visitors, Moroccans and foreigners, is no more than 800 x 600 metres (measured by the walls). And if you carry a good guide book, none of the guides at the gate is needed. Much of the best excavations have been moved to the Archaeological Museum close to the royal palace in Rabat, but Volubilis offers ruins of quite good quality, and about 30 high quality mosaics that still stand in their original place. There is an admission fee for entering the Volubilis of about 20 dh.
HOTELS AND ALTERNATIVES
No hotel, use Meknes as your base.
RESTAURANTS AND ALTERNATIVES
Expensive café at the entrance of Volubilis.
No banks, use fascilities in Meknes.
A bit problematic, connections out of Meknes are OK, but don't be surprised if you find yourself waiting for some time for buses or taxis in Volubilis.
Some of the buildings are in rather good condition, although the local people certainly put away stones, they needed for their own gardens or houses during all these last 20 centuries
Fondest memory: Fortunately some of these columns and ornaments you still may see there, simply were to big to be transported anywhere else.
Just imagine to be able to walk the original Roman paths through Volubilis.
Most of these stones are still on the same spot like they were put more than 2000 years ago.
Fondest memory: Just have a look into your own garden or a park inside your city...
...paths with stones like these are un-even already after a few years of existence !
Have a look at these great mosaiques, and considder the time, they were made, more than 2000 years ago, without almost any of the modern techniques that we know of today.
Fondest memory: Still this mosaik is somehow 3-dimenional and is still in a great condition after all that time.
a great mosaique in the landscape - the surrounding houses are gone, the mosaique is still there, and mostly in perfect condition
Fondest memory: It is always amazing for me to see, that old ruins like this one remain in the landscapes and nobody cares or takes away anything in all these centuries gone by
It looks to me, like the romans have just left recently - lots of things and buildings are in great condition
Fondest memory: The remains of Volubilis are situated in the open landscape - no village close by, just a small museum...
Fondest memory: This mosaique is displayed in the museum and it is great to see, that all these mosaiques had a perspective already and the ornaments seem to be 3-dimensional
Fondest memory: The excarvations are of course not so complete and the town was not so big as Pompeji / Italy but at some places you may get a good impression, what it looked like in the roman times
Fondest memory: Some of the mosaiques are in perfect condition and you may see it in the original place, out in the landscape - no protection or high fence around it...