Volubilis is located 26km north of the city of Meknes, in the foothills of Zerhun. The site is crossed on the east side by the river Fertassa and bordered to the south and west by the river Khoumane.
In its maximum extension, marked by a town wall built in 168-169 AD, Volubilis occupied a total area of 42 hectares. The Fertasssa river intersects the site and bordered to the south and west by the Khoumane river.
The town wall that surrounded the city was adorned with numerous semicircular towers and included seven gates, the main gate with three openings to the north-west and the door with two openings facing the west; but the other doors only had one opening. All doors were framed by semicircular towers.
The excavations that began in 1915 have so far allowed the uncovering of the monumental area, the north-east area, north area, south area, east neighborhoods, and Temple B, which is the only monument discovered east of the Fertassa river. The western district whose extension is close to 16 hectares has been little explored.
Before reaching the development in the second century, Volubilis, during the Mauretanian period, (from the 1st century BC), occupied a smaller area. The monuments that are dated in this period are mainly religious or of burial purpose.
During the Roman period as some earlier buildings were preserved (temples B, G, and H), other new monuments were built over the Mauretanian city (Forum, Capitol, Basilica, Baths of Gallienus) New neighborhoods emerged, including the most well known residential area called “northeast area.”
Between the end of the third century, date of the Roman evacuation of the city, and the beginning of the eighth century, a new fortified urban development in the western part of the city arose while the eastern parts of the Roman city were abandoned. And it is this cluster of houses which was Islamized during the 8th century and which hosted Idris I, founder of the Idrissid dynasty.