The Saturday I was in Morocco, my cousin was kind enough to drive us out to a rather extensive set of Roman ruins called Volubilis. As we ambled in, a tour guide materialized to offer his services. Though I usually decline tour guides, my cousin has much more of a disposable income and so he opted for the guide. Please note that all the guiding occurred in French, so everything I’m about to say may be wrong.
I will say that having the guide made it a lot easier to figure out what some of the structures were supposed to be. Various bits and pieces had fallen apart and then been reconstructed over the course of history. Our guide gave us a muddled description of when people had first settled the area, where those people had come from, and when people stopped living in the area. I can’t repeat it here because I didn’t really understand it, but suffice to say there was a good amount of mixing of people and religion. Also, apparently, people lived in the area up until the early parts of the 20th century. Maybe.
At any rate, here’s an aqueduct that I never would have recognized without our guide:
The ruins also featured several mosaics, which the guide promised to point out to us. This is the Roman equivalent of Aphrodite. The rest of his explanation I didn’t understand.
Hippocampi maybe? The guide did not elaborate.
According to the guide, the mosaics were partially refurbished, which accounts for the high quality of some of them. Here is Heracles as a baby, having killed the snakes that Hera sent to kill him:
And here is Heracles after having tamed Cerberus:
It was impossible (at least for me) to tell what had actually been rebuilt and what hadn’t, but this mosaic depicting Orpheus taming wild animals gives you a good idea of what things looked like: some very good detail beside some completely bare patches.
The tour wasn’t just mosaics. Our guide also helpful pointed out these silhouettes on the reconstructed arch known as the Arc de Triomphe, just because. Apparently this is one of the Roman emperors and his mother.
The city was also full of interesting structures such as this large cistern meant to be filled with water to make the house cooler.
And here are the famous Roman baths:
As is apparently a pattern in Roman ruins in Morocco, there were storks nearby, though not nearly as many as at the Chellah.