Who knew that you could find Roman ruins in Morocco? Not many people travel to Morocco with the intention of getting a piece of ancient Italy, but these archaeological sites aren’t something to be missed.
Three Stunning Roman Ruins In Morocco
Morocco is the quaint home of three incredibly stunning Roman sites. The best places to explore Roman ruins in Morocco are Volubilis, Lixus and Sala Colonia. In these locations, tourists are free to roam around and be transported through the flavor of ancient Italian ruins.
Visiting these three destinations doesn’t require many detours for most travelers, and definitely offers something unique. It is very much worth the short journey out of the city to experience this unusual but delicately placed subculture within Morocco’s history.
In fact, these ruins are often completely overlooked by travelers and probably even Moroccan locals. These three ancient cities don’t get as much attention as other Roman sites scattered around the world, which is arguably what allows them to keep their charm.
You’re considered to have found some unusual treasure if you find yourself visiting one of the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, Lixus and Sala Colonia.
Situated about 2 hours from Rabat, or much closer to the city of Mekenes (about 45 minutes) makes this site entirely worth the day trip if you’re just passing through one of these places. Where these ruins lie was once considered the capital city of the Kingdom of Mauretania. It was under Roman rule for a long time during which the Romans expanded it from 12 hectares to over 40.
Volubilis was discovered an excavated by the French during their rule in Morocco between 1912 and 1956. The Arch of Caracalla shows where the old and new part of the cities meet, and the feeling of ancient Rome comes flooding into the Moroccan landscape. Baths, pillars, archways, and footways are just some of the architectural designs that give away the Roman flavor.
All over Volubilis, a traveler can experience the ancient culture of Greece and Rome. Scattered over the city are depictions of ancient Greek and Roman gods, mosaics telling ancient stories, sacred geometry and statues suggesting that only royalty were the inhabitants of this city.
The history is just one of the reasons to explore Volubilis, but its beauty and feeling are the reason it makes it one of the best places to see Roman ruins in Morocco.
This ancient Roman site is located a little further up the coast, which means it requires a little bit more traveling. However, don’t let that deter you from making your way over there. What you find over there is probably one of the most underrated and under-visited historical sites in the world.
Lixus is at the heart of one of the most famous myths about Hercules, where he is required to steal golden apples from the Garden of Hesperides. Within the winding and narrow walls of this city, you can find Churches, a natural amphitheater that suggests some kind of combat sport went on there and beautiful Roma buildings.
What make Lixus one of the best places to see Roman runs in Morocco is the stunning views that surround this city. Summits, hilltops and winding rivers mean that even the surrounding area is a beautiful thing to experience. It is also free to roam around and enjoy this site! Travelers who visit Lixus might also want to visit the colonial Spanish town of Larache, only four kilometers away!
Of all the places to see Roman ruins in Morocco, Sala Colonia is probably the most popular and easily the most visited. It is a convenient place to visit because it is located in the city of Rabat itself.
The Sala Colonia sits on top of a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and is accompanied by beautiful gardens. This makes it a popular place for tourists and families alike to visit on the weekends, so if you’re looking for a quiet afternoon out, pick a weekday!
The Sala Colonia is not quite as elaborate as the other two places to see Roman ruins in Morocco. More is left to the imagination in terms of putting the ruins back together to get a picture of what this ancient city might look like.
There is a statue of a figure in a toga somewhere in this port city, probably one of the clearest ways to identify that you are in fact, inside of a Roman city. Having said all of this, the increased tourist appeal to Sala Colonia means that the whole set-up is much better organized that what you could expect at the other two locations.
Pro Tip: If you love ruins, we recommend visiting Copan Ruinas in Honduras!
Final Thoughts On Roman Ruins In Morocco
If you want to experience this country from a unique and interesting perspective, then you definitely need to see the Roman ruins in Morocco!