Visit Date: May 8, 2015
On the last day of our trip to Morocco, we first visited the magnificent Roman ruins in northern Morocco.
A heartwarming journey to the ruins
Finally, the last day of our trip arrived. On this day, we first visited the ruins of Volubilis, located about 30 km north of Meknes, and then headed to Rabat, the capital of Morocco, where we stayed overnight.
We checked out of the riad in Fez where we stayed for two nights and were very well taken care of. I paid for the accommodation through Airbnb, but I paid for the service charge, city tax and the dinner I had on the first day of arrival when I left.
Then we took the opposite route from the one we came to, to the Guissa Gate on the north side of Fez el Bali. At the parking lot just ahead, I met my car again after two days. I had already paid the parking fee, but I don’t know how this is managed at all. I was worried that I might be asked to pay again when I left, but it seemed that no one came near the car, so I could just leave.
Then we packed our bags and completed setting up the Google Maps navigation system to our destination, Volubilis. Now it’s time to leave.
We got caught up in the morning congestion until we got to the outskirts of Fez, but once we passed through the outskirts, the rest of the way was a relaxing country road. We could have taken the highway to Meknes and then headed north, but we had time to spare, so we chose to enjoy the scenery while driving slowly along the open road route indicated by Google Navigation.
General roads in the countryside are still paved halfway. Most of them are paved only in the middle of the road.
So, when there is no oncoming car, I run in the middle of the road. When it comes, I avoid it of course. Naturally, the wheel on one side of the road is on the unpaved surface and the shaking becomes violent, but I have gotten used to this.
By the way, oncoming cars are not the only rivals. There are also goats and cows, so don’t let your guard down.
I was accustomed to this kind of scene when I toured the most beautiful villages in France.
Arrival at Volubilis Ruins
After about 1 hour and 30 minutes of such a heartwarming drive, we arrived at the ruins of Volubilis, standing in the vast grassland. I think the time was before 11 o’clock.
Parking is available at the ruins. It is located right in front of the ruins. There was a person in charge, so it seems to be paid. It is a standard type in Morocco that you can pay on the way back.
It seemed to be crowded with many tourists already. However, compared with the sightseeing spot in Japan and the city, people are sparse and sightseeing seems to be easy.
The only World Heritage Site among the Roman ruins in Morocco
Now, this Volubilis site is registered as a world cultural heritage. It’s the only World Heritage Site among the Roman ruins in Morocco. It was around the 1st century A.D. that the Romans built a city here, and it can be said that it was the time when the 3rd Poeni War was finished and the hegemony of this area was well established. During the Empire, this area was the western limit of the Empire, and Volubilis was an important city for its defense.
And it is famous for its very good state of preservation compared to other Roman ruins in the world.
This is the entrance gate.
You can buy an admission ticket at the booth right next to the gate, and then go inside.
The magnificent ruins of the Forum and the Arc de Triomphe
The area where the ruins stand is on top of a small hill. To get to this hill from the parking lot and ticket booth, you will pass through a small valley once. From the entrance to the ruins area, it takes about 2 minutes to walk.
But still, there are many magnificent buildings. This is the “Forum and Basilica Chapel Ruins. In those days, this place was used for meetings and trials. It was the center of the city and the political center. Later, when Rome declined and the Christians moved in, this place was used as a chapel.
The arches of the building are very beautiful.
In addition, there was a stork’s nest on the pillar of this forum. It’s very big when you see it close. In Morocco, you can see storks in many places.
Emperor Caracalla is one of the most famous emperors of the Roman Empire. Especially for tourists, he is a familiar emperor, isn’t he? Emperor Caracalla was a tyrant who left a lasting mark on Roman history, but he was also famous for his achievement of issuing the Edict of Antonius and granting Roman citizenship to all the people of the Roman provinces. This edict is said to have effectively led to the abolition of racial discrimination in the Roman Empire, so it has a great significance in history. I think I probably learned about it when I studied world history, but I had forgotten all about it. (Source: WIkipedia, added based on “Morocco” from Globe-Trotter.
These are the major buildings in the ruins.
The rest of the site is a series of residential areas.
This is the remains of the city’s main street. It seems to be what used to be called “Deckmasne Maximus Street.” They have a good water infrastructure and still have a sewer system, but it’s still in good use.
Like a beautiful mosaic museum
In addition to the Forum and the Arc de Triomphe mentioned above, there is one more major attraction at the Volubilis site. It is the stone mosaics left behind in the ruins of each residence. The number of these mosaics is very large and very extensive. It was as if we were sightseeing in a museum. Usually, mosaics excavated from Roman ruins are preserved in archaeological museums, but it is very rare to see such a large number of mosaics. The main artifacts are kept in a museum in the capital city of Rabat.
Below are the films in no particular order that I watched them.
The mosaic of the House of Venus.
Dionysus and the Mosaic of the House of the Four Seasons.
Mosaic of the House of Orpheus
Mosaic of Desalter’s House
Mosaic of the Knight’s House
Mosaic of the House of Hercules
I think the mosaics from this period are all very beautiful and worth seeing. By the way, the best mosaic I have seen so far is the “Battle of Alexander the Macedonian and the Persian Kingdom of Darius” from Pompeii. It was excavated in Pompeii, but the real one is in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. I think it is a must-see for history buffs.
(As it happened)
ポンペイナポリ観光、イタリアンなオケを堪能 2014年5月 イタリアの最も美しい村巡り 現地レポート No.17 | my lifelog yuu-koma.jp http://www.yuu-koma.jp/?p=9170
The ruins of Volubilis are well worth seeing. I enjoyed it very much. The viewing time was about 1 hour and 30 minutes net, and we were just sightseeing around noon, so it was very hot to see the ruins.
After viewing the site, we returned to the parking lot, paid about 20DH (I forgot exactly) to the parking attendant, and left the site.
Now, we’re headed for our last stop, Rabat, the capital of Morocco. (To be continued, next time will be the last?)