Located near Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, the Volubilis ruins are the most beautiful Roman ruins in Morocco. They are also among the main Roman ruins in Africa.
If you pass by Meknes and you are interested in the ancient ruins, I advise you to devote half a day to visit Volubilis.
At the end of this post, I give you some information on how to get to Volubilis from Fez or Meknes, the two closest cities.
Volubilis Morocco, A Little History …
The history of Volubilis perfectly represents the multiple cultural influences of Morocco. The city bears the marks of several civilizations.
Volubilis was founded in the 3rd century BC. It was then the capital of Mauretania. Maurétanie was then the territory of the Berbers. Volubilis was therefore originally a Berber city.
The city developed rapidly when it was controlled by the Romans. At its peak, Volubilis has between 10,000 and 20,000 inhabitants according to historians. The city lived mainly from the olive oil trade. The plains which surround Volubilis also remain covered with olive trees!
Volubilis will be abandoned by the Romans towards the end of the 3rd century AD. It was then inhabited by a Christian community. Later, upon the arrival of Islam in Morocco, the city will be Muslim and inhabited until the 11th century.
The city was then abandoned and very well preserved until the 18th century when a big earthquake seriously damaged Volubilis.
Today Volubilis remains a major and well-preserved Roman site.
Visit Volubilis Morocco, A Rather Well-Preserved Ancient City
The Roman ruins of Volubilis are very interesting to visit because they are particularly well preserved for a city dating back 2000 years!
After the earthquake which damaged the uninhabited city of Volubilis, several objects and statues were looted or exhibited in museums. Blocks of stone or marble were used for construction in the surroundings, and even up to Meknes.
Nevertheless, the Volubilis site remains worthy of interest. There are splendid mosaics, many carved columns, oil presses but also various buildings that can be found in most Roman cities.
Some tips to prepare your visit to Volubilis To fully enjoy the visit of Volubilis,
the idea is to have a guide. A site of historic ruins without a guide is often of little interest. If you do not wish to take a guide, I recommend that you have a minimum of documentation on the Volubilis site: history, map with the different buildings, …
It is possible to find a lot of information online on the subject. If you go to Volubilis between June and September, be aware that it can be very hot there.
My first visit to Volubilis was in overwhelming 40 ° heat. And on the site, there is no shade …
It is therefore essential to take water, especially if you are going from Moulay Idriss to Zerhoun / Volubilis on foot.
One of the symbols of Volubilis is the arc of Caracalla. This rather well-preserved arch measures 8 meters in height and more than 20 meters in length. Its initial height was 14 meters!
Also worth mentioning is the Porte de Tingis, the Decumanus Maximus, the Basilica, and the Capitol. Flagship ruins of the Roman city, you cannot miss them during your visit to Volubilis.
The site is quite extensive, it takes at least 2 hours to visit Volubilis.
Visit Moulay Idriss Zerhoun Quickly
While going to Volubilis, I recommend that you take the time to visit Moulay Idriss Zerhoun. This city of about 10,000 inhabitants.
Moulay Idriss Zerhoun is an important spiritual city in Morocco because it shelters the mausoleum of Idriss Ier also called Moulay Idriss. He is the founder of the Idrissid kingdom which is considered to be the origin of the Moroccan nation.
Moulay Idriss is also the founder of the city of Fès.
Finally, the small town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun was built on a rocky outcrop. The alleys of the city offer beautiful views of the rest of the city or the valley. In short, a city that deserves to be discovered!
Where to sleep in Volubilis Morocco?
Volubilis being a site of Roman ruins, it is obviously not possible to sleep on the site itself.
The nearest solution to sleep in Volubilis is to spend a night in the nearby village of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun. Important village in the history of Morocco, it is a pleasure to spend a night there and enjoy this little-visited town! In addition, the landscapes around Volubilis are magnificent…
If your schedule in Morocco is wide enough, I highly recommend spending a night in Volubilis to visit the site early in the morning, without the tourists and take the time to discover the village before returning to Meknes or Fez.
To sleep near Volubilis, a very good place, Dar Zerhoune. This dar is beautiful, well maintained, very clean and perfectly located! One of its main assets, the view from the terrace. Just perfect ! Count around fifty euros for a double room with breakfast.
Go to the ruins of Volubilis in Morocco The ruins of the Roman city of Volubilis are located near the town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, 30 kilometers north of Meknes.
If you are on a road trip in Morocco, it is very easy to reach Volubilis from Meknes or Fez. A large car park allows you to park right outside the entrance to the site. Allow 1.5 hours by road from Fez and around 30/40 minutes from Meknes. Go to Volubilis by grand taxi If you do not have a car, it is possible to take a day taxi to get to Volubilis (and elsewhere) but it is not the most economical solution.
The cheapest solution is to take a large taxi from Meknes. The last time I went there, the price was in memory of ten dirhams per person (6 passengers in the big taxi, departure when the taxi is full, the possibility of paying several seats if you want more space or leave faster). From Meknes, take a large taxi from the station near the French Institute. This is where the big taxis leave for Moulay Idriss. Possibility to walk from Meknes al-Amir Abdelkader station to the big taxi station.
Once you arrive at the Moulay Idriss Zerhoun grand taxi station, you must take a second grand taxi to Volubilis, 5 Dh instead. However, few people go to Volubilis. You will therefore have to pay for the 6 seats (30 Dh) if you do not want to waste time.
Another alternative, on foot from Moulay Idriss Zerhoun. Count, from memory, an hour’s walk. The walk is quite pleasant, provided you go in winter, or early in the morning to avoid the heat. Ideally, one taxi and the other on foot.
Go to Volubilis by rental car If you have a little more time to visit Volubilis and its surroundings, car rental is the most flexible solution. You will then be able to go where you want, without too much time constraint. To rent a reliable car in Morocco, I recommend that you go through My ticket Services which will allow you to benefit from a negotiated rate while having the certainty of renting a recent vehicle, from an international rental company.
Price: 10 Dh per person for entry to the site.
Possibility of taking a guide, negotiating the price. To learn more about the history of Volubilis, you can consult the page dedicated to Volubilis on the UNESCO website.
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