Volubilis, Ancient Ruins of Rome

Trip Start Jun 06, 2006
Trip End Jun 23, 2006

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Today we hired a grand taxi (not all that grand, just the name) out to the ancient ruins of Volubilis, near the very religious village of Moulay Idriss. This village perched on the side of a rugged stone outcrop contains the tomb of the founder of Morocco's first imperial dynasty and non Muslims are not allowed to spend the night there. Agriculture is all around, including fields of sunflowers just about ready for harvesting.

Volubilis was originally settled by Carthaginian traders in the 3rd century BC, but most of the buildings, etc. are from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. This was one of the Roman Empire's most remote outposts made up of Berbers, Greeks, Jews, and Syrians that spoke Latin and practiced Christianity until Islam arrived. It continued to be inhabited until Moulay Ismail's palaces in Mednes were built from the marble plundered from Volubilis.

There are beautiful mosaics still intact in the homes and we wandered amongst the ruins for hours. Benjamin read us the inscriptions, etc (finally 4 years of Latin put to some use - just kidding) and we imagined what this town must've been like back then. It is an extensive site with many homes, a basilica, capitol and forum, and a triumphal arch built in honour of Emperor Caracalla and his mom. It was a perfect afternoon outing and then back to a hotel with a how shower, a western toilet, air conditioning, and tv.....wow!!!

Meknes is a beautiful city - clean and a welcome relief. We head home in two days so it is back to the train station to work our way to Rabat and the airport. Thanks for sharing in our adventure...I hope it gave you more insight into where Benjamin has been these last 15 months. Morocco is a beautiful country with great challenges as it collides with the present...the disparity between the cities and the countryside is huge...the status of social services is basically nill...and there are many people marginalized...and of course the bureaucracy of the french is still very much in place. The people are warm and friendly and we have had a fantastic time with Benjamin as we travelled throughout.

We are eager to be back in our own bed and get caught up with you and what is happening...until then...Bassalama...
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