Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Volubilis: an outpost of empire

Sites, shmites: it's easy to become cynical about yet another tourist-attracting antiquity. Actually, when I come to think about it, those that have been worth running varying degrees of the fairground gamut to see are more numerous than I'd casually remembered: the pyramids and sphinx, Ephesus, Nemrut Dag, the Acropolis of Athens, Persepolis, Tyre, Palmyra, Qalaat Samaan, Petra, Thanjavur...probably I've left something spectacular off the list. The point is that Roman Volubilis, about which I'd heard nothing before we went to Morocco, wasn't high on the list: the feeling was, we're in Meknes, we ought to go.

And it turned it to be one of the most breathtakingly-located, mosaic-rich set of ruins we'd ever seen. The rains had brought the flowers out in abundance, of course, and even the edge of the site looking over to the basilica and forum was a wonder to behold.

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