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Day Trip from Fez to Meknes & Volubilis

After a traditional Moroccan breakfast you will travel outside of Fez to explore the breathtaking archaeological site of Volubilis, the charming whitewashed hill town of Moulay Idriss and the imperial city of Meknes.

Once occupied by the Romans, Volubilis has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site and gained international acclaim when Martin Scorsese made it a feature location for his film, The Last Temptation of Christ.

Begin your visit by discovering the fascinating Roman ruins adorned with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology. The ruins are spread out across several acres and what remains visible is several fragments of wall, parts of massive columns, the capitol, the basilica and a triumphal arch.

You can view how the Roman Empire transformed the original Carthaginian settlement into a typical Roman city complete with mansions, a town center, a triumphal arc and temples devoted to the Roman gods.

As you walk along the fertile lands of the province your guide will explain how natural commodities such as grain and olive oil were exported to Rome. Volubilis once functioned as a final stop of the Roman imperial roads that went across France, Spain, down Morocco’s northern city of Tangier and eventually into Volubilis.

After lunch at one of  Moulay Idriss famous local restaurants, we will take you briefly through the town. You can stand on one of the twin hills of Moulay Idriss. From there you see a panoramic view and appreciate the green plateau upon which Volubilis is situated. The horizon is dominated by the triumphant aqueduct and from there you can see how the Fertessa River, runs on one side of Volubilis, adding charm to the Roman ruins.

Then we will take the road to Meknes. First we will pass through the triumphal arch. Standing at sixteen meters high with an eight meter long arch, the intricately patterned triumphal arch is argued to be the most beautiful in Morocco. Pass under the arches framed by protruding towers and enter Place El-Hedime (Square of Ruins) which links the medina and the kasbah. The square is lined with modern residential buildings and a covered food souk (market).
We will stop and visit the Museum Dar Jamaï, a museum showing modern Moroccan arts, woodwork, ceramics, carpets, costumes, jewelry and metalwork. The sophisticated building was once a palace incorporating a mosque, menzah (pavilion), courtyard, kitchen and hammam. Be sure to look for these as well as an Andalusian garden planted with cypresses. Moving along, stop by Bou Inania Medersa to explore the beautiful Koranic school established by the Merinids in the 14th century. Opposite of the Medersa, see the Grand Mosque.
Then, take time to appreciate the green glazed terricota tiles of the roof and the striking 18th century minaret. Leaving the mosque you will see a series of open streets lined with workshops.

Browse Rue de Souks, a street filled with hardware merchants (akarir), corn chandlers (bezzazine) and metalsmiths (haddadin). Also of interest may be a trip to the En-Nejjarine Mosque, a 12th century Almohad built structure. Before moving on to see the square towers and zellij tilework of the Bab el-Berdaïne gateway, catch the action of Ed-Dlala Kissaria. Every day in the Berber souk an auction takes place to sell carpets, blankets and other works made by the mountain dwellers.

Visit the palaces and mosques located within the heart of Ksar Dar el-Kebira, the heart of the Imperial city. Dar el-Keibra is also visited for the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. Featuring a suite of three rooms, twelve columns and a sanctuary hosting the tyrannical sultan, the tombs are reminiscent of the Saadian Tombs in Marrakesh.

Next, drive to see Koubba el-Khayatine and Habs Qara, an imperial pavilion that once received diplomats who came to negotiate the ransom of Christian prisoners. Behind the pavilion is Habs Qara, a former Christian prison. Continue on to see Dar el Makhzen, the “Palace of Labyrinths” and then to Bassin de l’Aguedal, a water tank built to supply water to the palace and imperial city. Before returning to Fez, we will visit the well known Haras de Meknes, the largest national stud that can accommodate up to two-hundred and thirty one horses. It's the home of noble Arabian and Berber Horses. Created in 1912, Haras de Meknes promotes the best breeds of horses to be used during a fantasia or competitive horse races. Back to your Hotel/Riad in Fez

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