Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Moroccan Travels... The Roman ruins of Volubilis

This post is very delayed as Justin and I actually traveled to Volubilis back in January! But it was an amazingly impressive site, so I wanted to be sure to share it with you.

Many people are not aware of this, but part of what is now Morocco included some of the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire. There are several archaeological sites throughout the country, and the most well-known is called Volubilis in English ("Oualili" in Moroccan Arabic). Volubilis is fairly close to our town, so we decided to make a day trip of it. 

Approaching the site through the hills north of Meknes, massive white stone shapes appear against the surrounding farmland. And as you get closer, the monumental architecture begins to come into focus, and you are taken aback at the scale of the place. Unlike archaeological sites in the United States or much of Europe, you are largely left to your own devices, and allowed to wander, climb, and touch where you will... though guards will start to whistle at you if you are too close to something they decide you shouldn't be close to. 

Most of the remains speak for themselves, but our pictures really don't do justice to the gorgeous mosaics that you just happen to come across at seemingly random intervals. They are unfortunately left exposed to the elements and some have pretty significant weathering damage, but it's still a very different experience to view them in situ rather than in a museum.

We strolled around for a few hours and I think we could have spent days there! I selected some photos that hopefully will give you a sense of the scope and beauty that we saw in Volubilis:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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