Volubilis: Exploring Morocco's Berber-Roman City

Photo Story Jun 13, 2023
Volubilis: Exploring Morocco's Berber-Roman City
The Volubilis ruins are impressive and include well-preserved floor mosaics. There are also the remnants of some stunning houses, and several baths!

Early in my Morocco journey, I took a day trip from Fes to visit the ancient town of Volubilis. It was founded by Amazigh people in the 3rd century BCE on a site with a commanding view of a fertile river valley, and was later settled by Carthaginians and then the Romans in the first century CE. It represented the southwestern most point of the Roman Empire’s expansion.

 The ruins are impressive, and include a number of well-preserved floor mosaics made from black and white stones and pieces of colored glass. There are also the remnants of some impressive houses with columns and courtyards, and several baths — elaborately engineered complexes where people would enjoy steam rooms, cold plunges, and various temperatures in between.

I was struck by the fact that mosaics and baths are both still fundamental parts of Moroccan life today, over two thousand years later. Floors, walls, fountains, tables, and other surfaces in private homes and public spaces are often decorated with intricate mosaics of small ceramic tiles called zellige. And the hammam (steam bath) is still central to most Moroccans’ routine; the local public bath is a place where people take care of their physical and social wellbeing at the same time by getting clean after a good sweat while catching up with their community. And most of the baths are also tiled beautifully!

Wherever you travel, and wherever you call home it’s important to learn about the history of a place, to understand something about the people who came before you. It’s especially useful to make connections between the present and the past as it relates to wellbeing, since many traditions have been around for thousands of years and represent many, many generations of accumulated wisdom.

I loved seeing how alive the past is in contemporary Morocco, and how important these ancient methods still are to fostering peoples’ wellbeing.

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Sunny Gurpreet Singh

Sunny Gurpreet Singh

Entrepreneur and philanthropist bringing wellbeing to the world.
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