PHOTO: Some of the ruins at Volubilis, Morocco. (photo via Flickr/James Byrum)
Travelers who take excursions to Morocco often do so to visit the popular cities of Marrakesh and Casablanca.
However, not to be missed is a city that is located two hours away from Rabat, the capital of Morocco. Here lies the ancient city of Volubilis, where the ruins of the once Roman rule now stand.
Volubilis is located at the foot of the Atlas mountains, in the Meknes-Tafilalet region of Morocco. It was founded in the 3rd century B.C., and became an important base of the Roman Empire. In 1997, Volubilis had the distinct honor of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On your trip to Morocco, let ShoreTrips take you on a trip back in time and see what UNESCO calls ‘one of the richest sites of this period in North Africa, not only for its ruins but also for the great wealth of its epigraphic evidence.”
This wealth was generated from the local olive and wheat field production as well as the export of wild animals to the Coliseum of Rome. As a result, you have the chance to see are many residences of the rich that are still standing and open for visitors. Here you can get a feel for what the lavish area looked like, as well as learn about its history through the multiple mosaics in various buildings.
For example, check out the House of Venus, once home to King Juba II, and the House of Orpheus, which has an exquisite mosaic of Orpheus playing the lute for animals.
It is said that several of Heracles’ (also known as Hercules) feats happened in Volubilis. He had killed his own children and, to expiate the crime, Eurystheus required him to carry out 10 labors. When he was done, Eurystheus added two more, which became the Twelve Labors of Heracles.
Other sites to see include Volubilis' House of the Acrobat, which has a mosaic of an athlete winning a race. There are also mosaics that illustrate the Greek and Roman gods of wine, Dionysius and Bacchus, throughout the ruins.
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Nearby is the holy city of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, named after the man who brought Islam to the Moroccan people. This beautiful city that the faithful tourists pilgrimage to is worth a visit, especially to see the buildings built on the side of the mountain.
For a divine blessing, visit one of the most popular attractions in the area, the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail in Meknès, a highly regarded architectural site as well. The Mausoleum is named after the ruler who made Meknès his capital city in the 17th century. It is said that a visit to his final resting place is to bring a divine blessing. The Mausoleum also has three brightly decorated courts, a mosque, and the tombs of the sultan and his family.
Start your unforgettable visit to the ruins of Volubilis, Morocco through the entrance of the recently built visitor center.