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Photographer's Note

If all roads led to Rome, they also led out from her. The ruins that were once the glories of the Roman Empire are spread over thousands of miles in all directions from the stone in the Roman Forum that marked the empire's ground zero. This issue’s focus is on Rome's African and Middle Eastern remains, most of them built during the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D., at her height.

North Africa is filled with the Roman sites. The ruins of Volubilis are some of the best preserved Roman remains in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, containing over 30 well-preserved mosaics, a forum, a triumphal arch, a basilica and three residential houses.

Volubilis was an important granary for the African Roman Empire, exporting olives and cereals all over the Roman world. It was also the meeting point between Berbers and Romans, where the two cultures met to trade even though the indigenous nomads of Morocco were never subdued by the Roman legions.

It is thought the city was founded by the North African Phoenician Empire. Around the third century BC, the Romans supplanted the earlier power and established a city of more than 20,000 people. In the 18th century, the Moroccan tyrant king Moulay Ismail raided the Roman remains for building materials to construct his palace at Meknes.

Entering the site, which covers about 800 x 600 metres, you come to the garden, a peaceful oasis of bubbling streams and plants which has pediments and capitals strewn across it. The Decumanus Maximus is the main street, at the end of which is the Triumphal Arch. On one side of the street is the Forum, with many Roman columns still standing. Don't miss the remains of the Basilica (temple), which is composed of a series of elegant arches built into a remaining side wall.

The best preserved houses include the House of the Euphebus next to the triumphal arch; the House of Orpheus to the south near the olive oil presses and the house of Dionysus near the Decumanus Maximus. Be sure to keep a sharp eye out for the fine floor mosaics, depicting various mythological figures such as Medusa, Orpheus and Bacchus, scenes of hunting and music-making as well as scenes from the natural world like the dolphin mosaic.

Hope you like it. Comments and critques are appreciated.

More you can see at Catch the Moment site.

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Additional Photos by Denis Cemazar (Danzi) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 93 W: 48 N: 306] (2461)
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