Our Day In Ruins

Who knew there were Roman ruins in Morocco?  Volubilis is a partly excavated Berber and Roman city in Morocco situated near the city of Meknes. Thanks to its remote location, tourists haven’t been able to trample on this archeological site like they have been able to in other, more popular, destinations (i.e. The Forum in Rome) so there's a lot to explore.

Volubilis was inhabited from the 3rd century BC well into the 11th century AD when it was abandoned thanks to the development of nearby Fes.  In the centuries that followed, looters and a major earthquake did a lot of damage to the ancient city.  During the French rule over Morocco (1912-1956), part of the site was excavated, restored and reconstructed.  It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is helping Volubulis to remain (somewhat) protected.

Next stop – Meknes where we jumped a few centuries ahead and saw the Hri Souani “Fort” (for lack of a better term in English). Construction started in 1611 and in addition to providing grain storage and water for the city, it was home for the 12,000 horses owned by the Sultan.  The horse stables created a massive wall to protect Meknes from attackers.  Which worked for a while.  But as we’ve learned about the very complex history of this country, we know there were more massive battles, new rulers (Sultans/Kings) took control, other countries invaded and now here we are in 2016.  Thankfully, a quieter time.

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There are a lot of these beautiful mosaics around the site.  Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, they sit outside, unprotected from the elements.  It's hard to believe how old these are.

There are a lot of these beautiful mosaics around the site.  Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, they sit outside, unprotected from the elements.  It's hard to believe how old these are.

This is the inside of the Fort - an engineering marvel considering it was 1611.  Several movies have been filmed here including The Last Temptation of Christ.  And, we did feel like we were on a film set - a feeling that we've had many times during this past week. 

This is the inside of the Fort - an engineering marvel considering it was 1611.  Several movies have been filmed here including The Last Temptation of Christ.  And, we did feel like we were on a film set - a feeling that we've had many times during this past week. 

Michael protecting the Fort.  This is part of the horse stables.

Michael protecting the Fort.  This is part of the horse stables.

We also went through one of the large markets in Meknes.  The olive piles are fantastic, right?

We also went through one of the large markets in Meknes.  The olive piles are fantastic, right?