Volubilis is a Unesco World Heritage site located near the city of Meknes. It is an archeological site of Berber and Roman ruins said to have been the capital city of Mauretania. The city dates back to the 3rd century B.C. and is called Walili in the Berber language.
The city fell to local tribes around 285 and was not reclaimed by the Romans due to its remoteness. It was inhabited for at least another 700 years. The ruins remained intact until they were devastated by an earthquake in the mid 18th century.
In the late 19th century, during and after French rule in Morocco, about half of the 100-acre city was excavated. There are some incredible mosaics there and some outstanding examples of the buildings that existed.
The entrance fee to Volubilis is 10 dirhams or a little over a dollar. On the grounds are some small hills to climb and some stairs. Restrooms are available when you enter the site as well as a museum.
There is a nice café for tea with an outside terrace to watch the sunset. Volubilis is about a 45-minute drive from Meknes. We went in a car, but there are many tour companies that offer the trip from both Meknes and Fez.
It was a gorgeous day when we visited and we spent nearly 3 hours there. We visited on a Saturday and there were other people, but it was by no means crowded. We had tea in the small café afterward before making the drive back to Meknes. It was really a lovely outing and a great way to spend the day.
Of course, the drive itself in between offered its share of sites. This row of Figs of India and cactuses was amazing.
Some of the most notable buildings are the basilica, the triumphal arch, the Capitoline temple, and many mansions of the rich, where the fine mosaics are. The Tingis Gate is at the end of the Decamanus Maximus, which was the longest boulevard in the city.