THE JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR
Morocco’s Jewish Heritage sites consist of Synagogues, Cemeteries, Zaouias, Mellahs (preserved Jewish neighborhoods in the old medinas) and other sacred sites. Morocco’s Jewish sites are either UNESCO Heritage sites and/ or protected by the King and the Moroccan government. The Jewish sites in Morocco are under renovation and preservation with the goal to ensure the sites remain in fully tact as an integral part of Morocco’s living cultural heritage.
By opting for this tour you will have the opportunity to discover with us this entire Jewish heritage and discover more fascinating about it.
We have gathered for you our most experienced, professional, friendly and multi languages speaking drivers and guides throughout the whole tour.
Tour will include the following sightseeing:
(Casablanca – Rabat – Meknes - Fes - Marrakech– Essaouira)
DAY 1: CASABLANCA ARRIVAL
Your driver will be picking you up from the airport and depending on your arrival time he will be taking you either to your hotel to rest or take you on a tour to the Hassan ll mosque which is considered to be the largest religious monument in Morocco and the 7th in the world with the tallest minaret at 210 meters.
Dinner will be served at your hotel or riad in Casablanca.
DAY 2: CASABLANCA JEWISH HERITAGE SIGHTSEEING TOUR - RABAT
Once you get to enjoy your breakfast in your hotel or riad your guide will be picking you up and taking you on one of the richest tours going through the entire Jewish heritage this city has to propose.
Casablanca’s 4,500 Jews now live mostly outside the mellah and worship in over 30 synagogues around the city. Throughout Casablanca you can find kosher restaurants, Jewish community centers, and Jewish schools.
Your tour will start by a visit to Casablanca’s Jewish Sacred sites, then go on to see the highlights of old Casablanca. The synagogues, cemeteries, monuments, and communal institutions of Casablanca demonstrate the importance of the city to the Jewish community during the twentieth century.
Afterwards we will go on to visit theTemple Beth-El, the Jewish Synagogue in Casablanca. This temple is considered the pride and joy of a once vibrant Jewish community. The Synagogue has outstanding stained glass windows and many artistic elements.
Once we are done with our visit of the temple our visit will be expanded by a tour of the old Jewish Mellah of Casablanca. While Jews no longer live in the mellah, kosher butchers can still be found in the old market. The Jewish cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew, and Spanish. Once a year, locals celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.
Like we are mentioned it above, Casablanca is so rich of Jewish heritage and our tour will go on to visit the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca, a museum of history and ethnography created by the Jewish Community of Casablanca in 1997 with the support of the Foundation of Jewish-Moroccan Cultural Heritage. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism presents religious, ethnographic, and artistic objects that demonstrate the history, religion, traditions, and daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization.
The Jewish Museum in Casablanca exhibits paintings, photography, and sculpture by Jewish-Moroccan artists. There are permanent exhibitions on Jewish religious and family life. Jewish-Moroccan artifacts like oil lamps, Torahs, Chanukah lamps, clothing, Jewish marriage contracts (ketubot), and Torah covers are also on display, as well as rooms depicting a complete Moroccan Jewish Synagogue. For research purposes the Museum houses a document research library, a video library, and a photo library.
The Museum offers guided visits, seminars, and conferences on Jewish-Moroccan history and culture. On special request, it organizes group visits in Arabic, French, English, or Spanish.
Beside the richness of the Jewish heritage in Casablanca, this city will surprise you by its kosher gastronomy so after our tour is over we will be heading to a kosher restaurant in the heart of Casablanca to savor some good kosher cuisine.
After this tour is over we will head back to your hotel so you can rest and then we will be taking you to Rabat where you will be spending the night.
DAY 3: RABAT – MEKNES ( VOLUBILIS) -FES
Once you get to enjoy your breakfast in your riad or hotel you will have a private guide taking you for a private guided visit of the city which will start by a visit the Tour Hassan Mosque; it is the counterpart of Marrakech’s Koutoubia Mosque and the Giralda Cathedral in Seville, Spain, all of which were built by the Almohad Dynasty, the twelfth 12 century persecutors of the Jewish people.
Bordering the Tour Hassan is the Mausoleum of King Mohammed V, which has become a pilgrimage site for Jews, who can’t overlook his hard work to look after them against the anti-Semitic policies of the French Vichy Government.
Afterwards we will go on to visit the Jewish quarter with its narrow lanes and colorful courtyards, the near-by mellah has a stunning synagogue just inside its gates, while the main synagogue is found a few blocks onward in the New City.
Outing the city walls of Rabat, we will visit another walled city, the ancient ruins of Chellah, where Jews are believed to have lived during the time of the Phoenicians. Then we will visit the Kasbah des Oudaias, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean you’ll find outstanding views.
By this time we are sure you will be hungry and tired so we will be taking a lunch break and your private guide will be in charge to recommend some kosher restaurants in the nearby area unless you have other suggestions.
After our lunch break you will be heading to Meknes which was founded at the end of the 17th Century by Moulay Ismail, where the Jewish presence is marked by Hebraic epitaphs dating from the Christian era as well as Greek inscriptions that still appear in local Synagogues and a place of pilgrimage where the tomb of Rabbi “David Benmidan”.
Our visit will go on to discover more of the old Mellah of this imperial city which still marked by historic Jewish names retained by many of the streets.
We will also discover together eight of its eleven Synagogues still serving until now for congregations. Among them, two are very well maintained, and their interiors are dimly lit by large exotic designed memorial oil lamps.
After this tour is over we will head to Fez with a stop at Volubilis; a well-preserved Roman city, where archaeologists found the first traces of Jewish settlement in Morocco.
Dinner will be served at your hotel or riad in Fez.
DAY 4: FES PRIVATE GUIDED TOUR (JEWISH HERITAGE)
After breakfast in your hotel or riad you will have your private guide picking you up and taking you on a guided tour linking both Jewish and Muslim dynasties in this beautiful city of Fes founded by Idriss the first in the eight century and considered one of the greatest recognized cities in the medieval Jewish history, it was once the home of one of the most powerful Talmudic scholars of all times.
The history of the Jewish empire that has lived in this imperial city started since the 14th century and more specifically since the year of 1438 when the first Mellah was officially established. This Jewish quarter is officially the first Jewish district in Morocco and its fortified walls are standing still until now days.
After our Jewish quarter production is over we will be heading to the Jewish cemetery where the tomb of the saint Solica. This burial ground contains more Jewish saints’ tombs than any other cemetery in Morocco.
Then we will head to visit TheI Ibn Danan Synagogue which is one of the oldest and most intact synagogues in Morocco.
Fez is such a fascinating city and so rich by its historical heritage and it won’t stop surprise you by how deeply the Jewish heritage spread deeper in its roots. After this introduction we will keep on going and head to one of the most relevant figures of the Jewish empire in the whole world and it is still remaining here in this imperial city of fez thanks to the great efforts done and still active by the Moroccan government. We are talking here about “Moshe Ben Maimone” or like mostly referred to as; “Maimonides”.
Like it was said, until today you still can find traces of this archaic Jewish time in an old part of the medina of Fez including the home of Maimonides who lived here from 1159 to 1165.
Some of the Moroccans efforts that were made to conserve the traces of this immense figure of the Jewish culture and course in the imperial city of Fez is the organization of a kosher restaurant and a modern synagogue in the premises.
After this tour is done we will head back to your riad or hotel where you will enjoy a nice dinner and get you ready for the coming day.
DAY 5: FES EXTENDED VISIT OF THE OLD PART OF THE MEDINA
Once you get to enjoy your breakfast you will have a professional multi languages speaking guide picking you up from your hotel or riad and taking you on an extended visit of the rest of the old medina of Fez which is a fascinating experience on its own since the old medina is the largest and oldest dynamic square in the world.
Throughout this tour you will be heading to discover the Tanneries after we cross the fruits and vegetables outdoor market while witnessing the locals buying their daily needs for their delicious cooking then we take you to the Quaraouine University which is the Oldest existing, Continually operating and the first degree Awarding educational institution in the world according to the UNESCO and Guinness World Records.
Once we finish with this part of the old medina we will head to The Moulay Idriss Mausoleum then to the Nejarine Square. Once we are over with this part we will take you through the Attarine streets where you will be captivated by the diversity of the scents of oils and spices, you will also get the chance to witness a demonstration of the making of modern and traditional carpets and scarves in a local carpet manufacturing before we take you to The Madrasa Bou Inania strongly acknowledged as a great example of the Merinid architecture.
By this time we are sure you will need a lunch break so your guide will be offering you all the suggestions needed for a quick lunch.
After your lunch break we will be expanding our visit of the imperial city of Fes through the Batha Museum located in a magnificent 19th-century summer palace and rehabilitated to a museum in 1916, the Batha Museum houses a great collection of traditional Moroccan arts and crafts, historical and artistic artifacts which include fine woodcarving, zellij and sculpted plaster. It also has some fine embroidery representing the Fassi culture, colorful Berber carpets and antique instruments.
DAY 6: FEZ – MARRAKECH (Throughout The Middle-Atlas)
After enjoying your breakfast at your riad or hotel your driver will be picking you up and heading to our next destination which is Marrakech. But you are in for a special treat since this trip will be made throughout the breathtaking mountains of the Middle Atlas.
We will be making a stop by the Jewish Holiday Camp at Immouzzer Du Kandar. Then we continue on to Ifrane or the Switzerland of Morocco, with its russet tiled roofs concealed amidst a forest of cedar.
After this we will keep on going with our tour to one amazing spot considered to be the home of the monkeys “Macaque” in the cedar forest via the Mischliffen ski resort located in an extinct volcano’s basin to the first real town in the Middle Atlas “Azrou”.
We are sure that by this time you will be tired and hungry so we will be stopping for a lunch break at the city of Beni Mellal before we continue our route to Marrakech the second oldest imperial city known as the "Pearl of the South".
After this lunch break we will keep on going to our destination which is Marrakech of course where you will have dinner and spend the night to get you ready for our next journey.
DAY 7: MARRAKECH GUIDED VISIT
Once you get to enjoy your breakfast you will have a pivate guide picking you up from your hotel or riad and taking you on a guided visit of the Jewish heritage of the city of Marrakech.
Your visit will start by discover The Jewish quarter known as "The Mellah", a piece of Marrakech offered by the Sultan to Jews fleeing the Spanish Religious Wars in 1558, which became a thriving community. Then we will head toa still-functioning Synagogue (Closed on Saturdays) where the Jewish community still come to practice. Our tour will go on afterwards to the Jewish Cemetery of Marrakesh "Miaara" where many families still come to honor their ancestors and place a rock on the tombs for remembrance.
Once we are over with this part we will head toThe Majorelle gardens which took the French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962) forty years of passion and dedication to create this delightful garden in the heart of the “Ochre City”. In 1947 he opened his gardens to the public.
Also there is The Koutoubia Mosque which is the largest one in Marrakesh; the mosque is ornamented with curved windows, a band of ceramic inlay, and decorative arches with a large plaza overflowing with magnificent gardens.
After finishing with this historical mosque we will head to the Jewish quarter or Mellah Founded in 1558 by Moulay Abdallah, your guide will be walking you through this entire district and giving you a full resume concerning the history of this area personifying the Jewish culture and presence in Morocco.
Your tour will continue on to the Saadian Tomb which dates back to the Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603) and which were only discovered in 1917. Once discovered they were restored by the Beaux-Arts service and because of the beauty of their decoration, they have been a major attraction for visitors in Marrakech.
You will be ending your tour in Jamaa Elfna which becomes at night time more of a food market with different aromas coming from all over the corners while enjoying the sounds of Gnaoua music which has that African Reggae kind of rhythm to it coming from all over the corners of this exotic place.
Once your guided visit is over you will be taken back to your hotel or riad where you will get to enjoy a nice dinner and get ready for the next day.
DAY 8: MARRAKECH - ESSAOUIRA (JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR)
Today’s tour covers the exotic city of Essaouira or Mogadore like how it used to be called. We have about 3 hours to get to our destination so for that reasons we recommend an early departure from Marrakech unless you suggest otherwise.
Once we get to our destination you will have a private multi languages speaking guide taking you all over the important site you need to discover.
Essaouira is at once familiar and exotic with its fortified walls, fishing harbor and seagulls soaring and screaming over the town. At first it seems as though this could be a town in Brittany or France due to its Portuguese style.
Essaouira used to have the name “Mogador” by sailors and traders. It is well known for its Gnaoua festival held around the month of June. It is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage city. The modern name means "the little rampart" as a reference to the fortress walls that still enclose part of the city.
Your tour will take you through the sunlit pedestrian main square where you can enjoy a coffee or a mint tea then go for a walk through the Skala. You will also get to enjoy the fishing port of the city which offers a breathtaking view of the Portuguese ramparts. Fresh fish and mouth watering seafood is always available in case you want a taste of it. You won’t be disappointed if you are after local musician instruments because Essaouira is just full of them, as well as unique and exotic jewelry markets.
During your tour you will get the chance to enjoy this charming artist colony around its lovely white-washed and blue shuttered houses, numerous galleries all around the hidden streets of the old part of the city and thuya wood workshops.
Like it was mentioned, the city of Essaouira has played and still playing an important role in the Jewish community and the town, this city still have a large Jewish cemetery marking the presence of this ancient Jewish history.
In fact Mohammed ben Abdallah encouraged Moroccan Jews to settle in the town, at one time Jews once constituted 40% of the population, and the Jewish quarter or mellah contained many old synagogues.
One of the most significant figures of the Jewish history of Essaouira is Rabbi Ḥaim Pinto (1748–1845) who was the leading rabbi in the seaport city of Essaouira.
once a year, on the anniversary of Rabbi Pinto's death, (26 Elloul 5605, in the Jewish calendar) Jews from around the world come on pilgrimage to pray at the rabbi's grave in the Jewish Cemetery of Essaouira.
Rabbi Pinto is remembered as a man whose prayers were received in heaven in such a way that miracles resulted.
The Haim Pinto Synagogue, the building that was Rabbi Pinto's home, office and synagogue is preserved as an historic site.
Once your tour is over you will be settled in your hotel or riad and enjoying a nice dinner.
DAY 9: ESSAOUIRA - (DEPARTURE AIRPORT)
After your breakfast at your riad or hotel your driver will be picking you up and driving you to the airport.
Please make sure to contact us in case you need any further information or you have any extra requests or suggestions.
Your satisfaction is our primordial goal and thank you for choosing FK TRIPS