Volubilis is a partly excavated Berber city in Morocco situated 50km from Meknes. Built in a fertile agricultural area, it developed from the 3rd century BC onward as a Berber, then proto-Carthaginian, settlement before being the capital of the kingdom of Mauretania.
Visible from the nearby holy town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoune, and from higher points throughout the valley, Volubilis is one of Morocco’s best-preserved Roman ruins located between the Imperial Cities of Fez and Meknes on a fertile plain surrounded by wheat fields.
Established before the Christian Era, at a time when the area was part of Mauretania, Volubilis was considered the administrative center of the kingdom of Mauretania and also one of the most remote cities within the Roman Empire, located in the far southwestern region.
In the eighth century, when Islam arrived in the region, the churches were destroyed, although locals continued to occupy the city until the 11th century. While Volubilis remained inhabited and maintained its status as a capital city for centuries after the collapse of the Roman Empire, the city lost its administrative center status when nearby Fez was established, and the residents were relocated to the mountainous village of Moulay Idriss.
In the 18th century, the Lisbon earthquake hit the region, which caused the destruction of the buildings. As early as the 1830s, well before the French Protectorate era, the French army began excavations.
In 1997, the archaeological site of Volubilis was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List.