Volubilis, or وليلي‎ (Walily)

For those of you back home, here is a VERY brief overview of our trips to an amazing archaeological find. Take this information with a grain of salt, as they say, for I am not an expert. Consider this merely a solicitation for further exploration.

It’s an ancient city just outside of the town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, located in the middle-north of Morocco. Based on pottery excavations, the area is thought to have been continuously inhabited for nearly 5,000 years, with the Phoenicians establishing a larger settlement here around the 3rd century BCE as part of the Kingdom of Mauritania. With the fall of the Carthaginian empire and subsequent Roman occupation, the settlement was renamed Volubilis.

As Rome’s power later subsided, the city was gradually abandoned. Arab traders began to explore the area in the early 700s, when it came to be known as وليلي‎ (Walily). In the late 780s, Moulay Idriss brought Islam to the area. His tomb rests in the nearby city and is one of the holiest sites within Morocco.

Throughout Volubilis are to be seen beautiful floor mosaics, like the one on the left. Some of them are quite detailed and well-preserved. Even though they have faded over the years especially those exposed to the sun, some of them, when wet, still shows remnants of their previous brilliance.

Volubilis is in amazing condition and the overall size is quite large. Since its listing as a UNESCO Heritage site in 1997, there have been considerable improvements, reconstructions, and attempts at preservation, though much of the plundering done during French occupation is never to be repaired. To be sure, there are some needed upgrades to save what remains. If you come to Morocco, you must stop and see it.

Below are some more pictures from our trip. Click the “Load more” link for more images.

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