This morning Josh and I set out by car from Meknes to see a couple of sites about 30 minutes north of the city. I should stop here and tell you that I think (so far) renting a car was a really great thing to do, not at all because of the rental experience itself (kind of a pain) but because we really have been able to set our own pace and see some of the very beautiful countryside. This is especially true at the moment I imagine, as the rainy winter months make all the hills especially green and lush.
The first site we went to was the excavated colonial roman town of Volubilis. The place was shockingly intact, and it really gives one a full impression of a roman era city. There are many types of public and private building, clear street grid, some great mosaics, and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. In addition, there are several great vantage points around the site that give you a spectacular view and clear sense of the whole. It is a shame that a lot of the stone was apparently looted over the years by rulers in nearby towns for their own building, one wonders what it would have been like had these remained. I strongly recommend a visit, it is really a fascinating place.
After that, we stopped over for a bit on the nearby (10 min by car) town of Moulay Idriss, which is a lovely hill town with maze like streets running all over. While it was quite picturesque and worth exploring the streets, the most beautiful sites in the town are not open to non muslims and so alas we could not enter. It is worth stopping in the town if one if visiting nearby Volubilis, but I would not make a special trip to see it alone.
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