Monday, February 23, 2009
Having spent parts of my childhood living in Colorado and Montana, the sky has always held me captive. I am to always stop whatever it is I am doing to ponder a glowing skyline.
I do have to admit; one of the best sunsets I was a witness to was at Volubilis in Morocco. I had been on a trip thru Spain for several weeks and decided to meet up with friends in Casablanca. Our adventure took us all over Morocco landing us in Meknes near Volubilis.
Volubilis was an important Roman town situated near the westernmost border of Roman conquests. The fertile lands of the province produced many commodities such as grain and olive oil, which were exported to Rome, contributing to the province’s wealth and prosperity.
The Romans evacuated most of Morocco at the end of the 3rd century AD but Volubilis was not abandoned. An earthquake in the late fourth century AD destroyed much of it. It was reoccupied in the sixth century, when a small group of tombstones written in Latin shows the existence of a community that still dated its foundation by the year of the Roman province. Coins show that it was occupied under the Abbasids: a number of these simply bear the name Walila.
People continued to live in Volubilis for more than 1,000 years more. Volubilis was first abandoned in the 18th century — when it was demolished in order to provide for building materials for the construction of the palaces of Moulay Ismail in nearby Meknes. If that destruction had not occurred, Volubilis could have become one of the best-preserved Roman sites anywhere.
After having spent time recently in Greece and Turkey, I was amazed with the freedom we were allowed with these gorgeous ruins. The amazing afternoon we spent hiking around the ruins will forever be with me.