Back in the 3rd century B.C, when the Roman Empire was at its peak, ruling over nations in the Mediterranean as well as the north of Africa. Morocco was one of the nations that were witness to the power of the mighty Roman Empire, where the ancient city of Volubilis was erected.
What remains of the city of Volubilis are the pillars and square stone blocks that once marked the entrance to collonaded shops and its parliament building.
History of Volubilis
Located between the imperial cities of Fez and Meknes, the city of Volubilis was seen as the administrative centre of the kingdom of Mauretania and also one of the most remote cities within the Roman Empire. It was also home for over 20 000 residents.
It is one of the richest sites of this period in North Africa for the great wealth of architectural innovation and influence from the Romans, Libyan and Moor, Punic, and Arab-Islamic cultures as well as African and Christian cultures.
When the Arabs arrived in 708 A.D. they found it populated with Greeks, Berbers, Christians and Jews – many of them descendants of those who fled the persecutions and heavy taxes of the late Roman Empire, with Latin as the main language of communication.
The present-day site includes ruins from public hammams, triumphal arches, Basilica and parliament buildings.
As you walk through the columns and over the ornate tiles in of the city’s remains, you get a sense of what the daily lives of Volubilis’ residents was like, as they traded in the market or made their way up the three-hundred steps of the Basilica – a thriving community.
Volubilis is a true testament to the Roman Empire that was heavily influenced by the North African communities.
Although the 18th century Lisbon earthquake caused the destruction of most of the buildings in Volubilis, many of the structures’ foundations remained, and in 1997, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Private or group tours to the architectural site of Volubilis is available through Get Your Guide Tours and On The Go Tours, where there are packaged tours to the city as well as to the nearby settlements of Fez and Meknes.