During an independent tour of Morocco we headed north out of Marrakesh to the cities of Meknes & Fes. The scenic route took us through the Atlas Mountains where we slept in tents and visited waterfalls, raging rivers and colourful markets.
En route to the incredible city of Fes, we stopped at the Roman ruins at Volubilis, the ancient city considered the ancient capital of the Roman-Berber kingdom of Mauretania.
Constructed in the 3rd Century BC, it continued to flourish through the 1st Century AD as an important city in the Empire before its significance to Rome reduced and it eventually fell to local tribes around 285, never to be retaken by the empirical forces.
It continued to be inhabited for at least another 700 years, first as a Christian community and then as an early Islamic settlement. In the late 8th century it became the seat of Idris ibn Abdallah, the founder of the Idrisid dynasty and the state of Morocco.
By the 11th century Volubilis had been abandoned after the seat of power was relocated to Fes. Much of the local population was transferred to the new town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, about 5 km from Volubilis.
During the following centuries Volubilis was ransacked for stone in the building of Meknes and suffered an earthquake before being rediscovered and excavated in the 19th Century.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it features some fine buildings and impressive mosaics.
We spent an enjoyable hour or so clambering amongst the ruins as the sun fell, before heading for Fes in time for sunset.