Morocco Jewish heritage tours
Morocco Jewish heritage tours - 12 days itinerary
Touring In Morocco has designed these Jewish heritage tours of the cities of Morocco specifically for the purpose of learning about the rich Jewish history and culture that can be found in different regions throughout this North African nation. Many Jews, around one million of whom now live in Israel, consider Morocco to be their ancestral homeland. This Jewish heritage tour is perfect for those who want to see the whole of Morocco, from the Atlas Mountains to the Sahara desert, and from the city Medinas to the Jewish communities of the nation.
It provides you with the chance to explore significant Jewish cultural places, such as cemeteries, the historic Mellah neighborhoods, outstanding synagogues, and the graves of famous Jews. In addition to excursions to the fascinating Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca and the remarkable Adobe Synagogue of Arazan in Taroudant. All these are a part of your Jewish Morocco vacation that lasts for 12 days. During this trip, we will pay a visit to:
The first stop on your Jewish heritage tours of Morocco will be the beautiful Mosque of Hassan II in Casablanca. This mosque is a perfect example of the wonderful workmanship that can be seen in Morocco.
While you are in Casablanca, you will also be visiting the synagogues Beth-El, Temple Em Habanim, and Temple Neve Shalom. This is a very significant part of your trip. After, you will go to the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, which is the only institution of its sort in the Arab world.
Your first stop in Rabat will take you to the Jewish Mellah, an area of the city where a small number of Jewish families still make their homes, so that you may have an understanding of the contemporary and historical Jewish life in the capital city. After, you will get the opportunity to take a tour of the Chellah Kasbah and learn about the historic Jewish links that it has.
You will have the chance to pay your respects to the grave of Rabbi David ben Imdan while you are in Meknes. Rabbi David ben Imdan was the city’s patron. There are a multitude of ancient Jewish names associated with Meknes’s old Jewish district. Additionally, the new Mellah is home to a total of eleven synagogues, of which only eight are now active.
Due to the fact that Rabbi Isaac Elfasi, one of the most famous Talmud scholars, lived in Fes throughout the middle ages, Fes serves as an exceptional example of medieval Jewish history. During your Jewish heritage tour of Fes, your knowledgeable guide will take you to some of the city’s most impressive synagogues, as well as the Jewish Mellah of Fes and cemeteries.
Stop at the village of Seffrou on the route south to the Sahara Desert to pay a visit to the Jewish community that formerly made up the majority of the town’s inhabitants. As a direct consequence of this, the Jewish culture is still quite present in the Mellah of the town. You will journey past Berber communities and through the magnificent Ziz valley, which is rich with date palm trees and fortified Kasbahs, as you make your way over the Middle Atlas Mountains on the route.
In the Erg Chebbi dunes, an adventurous camel ride will take you to the top of the dunes, where you will be treated to a breathtaking view of the setting sun. After dinner, there will be Berber music and drumming performed around a campfire. The evening will begin with a classic Moroccan meal. When that happens, a cozy tent in a Merzouga luxury desert camp next to the tall sand dunes might provide a much-needed night’s sleep.
When you visit the Dades Gorges, you’ll have the chance to wander along the riverbed and even into some of the very deep valleys. We strongly encourage you to pay a visit to the cooperatives that produce fragrant Damascene rose products in Kel’aa M’gouna, which is located in the Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs. Visit the exquisitely restored Kasbah Amredhil in the Skoura oasis to get a more in-depth understanding of the multi-generational family life of the Berber people.
Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, located just outside of Ouarzazate, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular film set in Morocco used by Hollywood production companies. It is waiting for you to discover its modern and historic homes. As you continue to the west, make a stop at Taznakht to view the Berber rug cooperatives and learn about how this age-old art is being practiced today. Spend some time in Taliouine and pay a quick visit to the Saffron Museum, which is operated by the local government. Saffron is a valuable plant that is nearly as valuable as gold.
You are welcome to visit the well-known walled medina of Taroudant, which still has its walls standing. The Jewish community has been very important to the development of the town. Both a Jewish Mellah and a Jewish cemetery may be found in Taroudant. Within the Jewish cemetery lies the holy David Ben Baruk Cohen Azog. In the nearby town of Arazan is a synagogue that was constructed out of adobe and dates back 700 years; it is the only one of its kind in the whole globe.
One of our best guided tours of Jewish heritage in Morocco will be in Essaouira. We will start with an excursion into the Jewish district, also known as the Mellah. The vibrant Jewish community in Essaouira was an essential component of the social fabric of Morocco and played an important part in the city’s overall economic growth. Explore the newly inaugurated Synagogues Bet Ha-Knesset Simon Attias, go on a tour of the museum there, and travel to the Jewish cemetery. As the town develops into a destination for religious tourism, the once-dilapidated Jewish structures that have become a symbol of cross-cultural understanding are being painstakingly renovated.
Essaouira is filled with winding streets that are perfect for exploring, as are the fortifications of Skala and the famed blue boats that can be seen at the harbour.
The last stop on our Jewish Heritage trip will be in Marrakech, where you will have the opportunity to see the Lazama Synagogue as well as the wonderfully renovated souks in the Jewish Mellah. Djemaa El Fna square, El Bahia Palace, the Saadian Tombs, El Badi Palace, and the exquisite Majorelle Gardens are some of the areas of interest that can be found in Marrakech.
Your Jewish tour of Morocco will come to a conclusion on the last day when your driver will take you to the airport in plenty of time to catch your departure and put an end to your vacation.
Morocco Jewish heritage tours itinerary:
Day 1: Pick up service from the airport
On this day of our jewish heritage tours of the Moroccan cities, we will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to your accommodation. If you arrive early, we could take you to visit the mosque of Hassan II.
Day 2: Casablanca to Rabat
More than 20 synagogues and Jewish neighborhoods may be found in Casablanca. These Jewish historical heritage tours of the sites in Casablanca will take you to some of the city’s most important historic synagogues, including Temple Beth-El, Temple Em Habanim, and Temple Neve Shalom. The journey will also take you to the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, as well as Casablanca’s Jewish Mellah and Cemetery.
Your Jewish tour to Morocco should begin with a trip to Temple Beth-El, the country’s most well-known synagogue. The walls of the synagogues are distinguished by stained glass windows and are etched with gilded phrases from the Bible. Massive crystal chandeliers are suspended from the ceilings of the synagogues. The ark contains Hebrew manuscripts that have been wrapped in velvet covers that have excellent embroidery on them. The magnificent Temple Beth-El in Casablanca, Morocco, serves as a focal point for the city’s thriving Jewish population and is considered a masterpiece of Jewish architecture. It is the primary synagogue for the more than 5,000 Jews who call Casablanca home and who mostly reside in the city’s more recent neighborhoods.
After that, you should explore the Mellah of Casablanca, which was established less than a hundred years ago. Even though there are no longer any Jews living in the Mellah, there are still kosher butcher shops located throughout the maze-like lanes. The Jewish cemetery in the Mellah is available to visitors and definitely merits a stop because to its well-kept white stone headstones inscribed with Hebrew, French, and Spanish words. At the gravesite of Eliahou, a Jewish saint, the Jewish Community of Casablanca holds a hiloula once a year as a religious ceremony. In addition, there are historical synagogues in the Mellah neighborhood, such as the Temple Em Habanim and the Temple Neve Chalom, which has been tastefully renovated and has a gallery of synagogue lights as well as photos.
Following lunch, you should spend some time visiting the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca. The museum can be found in the Oasis neighborhood of Casablanca. It is the first and only museum of its kind in the Arab world, having opened its doors in 1997. The museum is dedicated to Judaism. The building that houses the museum, which was formerly a Jewish orphanage and could have housed up to 160 Jewish children and adolescents, underwent renovations in 2013.
Day 3: From Rabat to Fes
After breakfast at your riad, we will go out to discover the Jewish Mellah of Rabat and its winding lanes, which are still home to a few of Jewish families. You may go to the Necropolis at Chellah and learn about the Jewish connections that it has from this location.
After lunch, we will depart for Meknes, where we will engage in a brief Jewish Heritage tour of the Imperial City. You will get the opportunity to explore the Jewish district, which is known for its winding lanes and brightly painted courtyards. The Jewish past is made clear in the Hebraic epitaphs that date back to the Christian period and can be seen together with Greek inscriptions on the Meknes Zaouia. These inscriptions may be seen on the wall of the Meknes Zaouia. The grave of Rabbi David Benmidan is still located at this holy site, which is why it is visited by pilgrims.
Spend the night in a breathtaking riad.
Day 4: Jewish heritage discovery tour of Fes
Fes is one of Morocco’s four imperial cities and one of the most well-known in medieval Jewish history. Rabbi Isaac Alfasi, a prominent Talmudic scholar, lived there. Fes is a must-see city for all Jewish travelers because of its historical importance and past Jewish community, who freely enjoyed Jewish life.
During your Morocco Jewish heritage discovery tours of Fes, you will see Jewish Heritage sites such as synagogues, ancient universities and cemeteries, and the Mellah, as well as gardens and Royal Palaces.
Begin by visiting the Mellah, which is almost 650 years old. It formerly housed more than 40 synagogues. This intriguing neighborhood is next to the Royal Palace, where Jews sought refuge during the 1912 pogrom. You may also visit the neighboring cemetery, which has the most Jewish saints’ graves of any cemetery in Morocco. Silica is one of the notable saints buried here.
Later, pay a visit to the Danan synagogue, which was formerly one of several temples inside the Imperial city walls. The Thel Ibn Danan Synagogue is one of Morocco’s oldest and most complete synagogues. It is also a rare testimony to Morocco Jews’ historical importance.
After lunch, see Fes’s historic medina and its bright alleys filled with colorful shops offering leather products, metal trinkets, and woven textiles. You may visit the University of Al-Kairaouine, which is featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s first educational institution.
Day 5: Fes to Merzouga desert
We drive to the Sahara desert of Merzouga through Jewish Seffrou after breakfast at your riad. Travel through Ifrane, Morocco’s “Switzerland” due to its European architecture, cedar forest, and annual snowfall. Visit the synagogues and cemetery in Ifrane, which has long been a destination for Jewish pilgrims.
Visit the Bhalil cemetery on the way to Seffrou. Morocco’s Jews used to make up a large proportion of Seffrou’s population and half of the town’s Mellah structures, which you may explore. The white-walled medina of Seffrou is still distinguished by Jewish dwellings, which is distinguished by wooden balconies. Muslims and Jews coexisted together in this neighborhood. They performed their religious ceremonies in harmony, exemplifying Moroccan interfaith cooperation.
Barbary apes may be seen in the Middle Atlas oak and cedar woodlands near Azrou. From here, we travel south over the Middle Atlas Mountains to Midelt, 1508 meters above sea level, known as Morocco’s “apple capital.” It is located at the foot of the Ayachi Mountain.
We proceed south on the Tizi-n-Talghemt pass, also known as the “she-camel” pass. Then we descend via the Ziz Valley, which is famous for its palms and the length of the oasis. There are several “Ksars,” or small villages of individual dwellings, many of which have an unbroken encircling wall that runs the length of the road.
From there, we go to Errachidia, a mining town, and then to Erfoud, a town known for its date festival and fossils. The stores are worth a visit since it is amazing to see how these millions of fossils have been fashioned into artifacts.
Then you go to Rissani and eventually to Merzouga’s famed red Erg Chebbi dunes. You ride a camel for an hour and a half, either leaving or returning to the camp. There’s also the option of driving the 4 to your desert camp. At the camp, dinner is served, followed by a party of Berber music.
Day 6: Merzouga desert to Ouarzazate
If you get up early enough, you can see the sunrise, when the color of the dunes and the shadows is breathtaking. We leave the camp after breakfast towards Tinghir. You cross water canals Khettarat along the path, which you could descend inside to admire the design and brilliance behind this kind of irrigation, which avoids evaporation in the summer heat.
After lunch, the trip continues to the Dades Valley, where a visit to the Dades gorges and a brief stroll are planned. The cooperatives of Klaat Mgouna create pleasantly fragrant organic cosmetic goods in the Valley of the Roses, which is famed for its Damascene Rose Festival in May. Kasbah Amredhil in Skoura and the oasis nearby awaits a worthwhile visit for a glimpse into a multi-generational Berber habitation.
The Kasbah has been carefully renovated and provides a realistic picture of life in such dwellings. It is totally constructed of adobe, a good construction material that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer owing to the thickness of the walls. After a while, you arrive in Ouarzazate and spend the night there.
Day 7: Ouarzazate to Taroudant
A 30-minute journey goes to Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou after breakfast. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Morocco’s oldest and most renowned Kasbah. You will tour the Kasbah with a native guide who will tell you about its fascinating history.
Then we go west to Taznakht, which is famed for its Berber carpets and where you can see the old art of Berber rug and carpet production. We’ll also stop for lunch here. We go west, passing through the Tizi-n-Ikhsane and Tizi-n-Tighatine passes before arriving at Taliouine. This is the center of Moroccan saffron cultivation, and there is a wonderful tiny government-run museum dedicated to saffron gardening. The drive leads us to Taroudant, where we will spend the night.
Day 8: Taroudant to Essaouira
A tour to the town known as “the tiny Marrakech” is planned for the morning, which is notable for its huge walls and colorful local markets. It is also well-known for its native crafts, like as jewelry and Berber carpets. Unlike Marrakech, Taroudant’s magnificent walls have not been destroyed.
Taroudant’s Jewish community has played an important role in the town’s history and well-being. It features a Jewish Mellah as well as a Jewish cemetery where Saint David Ben Baruk Cohen Azog is buried. You will get the chance to tour one of the world’s few adobe synagogues. Azran’s 700-year-old adobe-built synagogue has Hebrew prayers painted on the walls and an ark with Berber calligraphy. Beyond Taroudant, the Souss river valley with its hundreds of argan trees on the mountains, as well as banana and orange farms, awaits you.
After lunch in Agadir, the route heads north along the coast, passing past Taghazout, a surfer’s paradise, and beside the Anti-Atlas Mountains with various vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. When you arrive in Essaouira, your driver will take you to your riad to relax and settle in.
Day 9: Essaouira/ Morocco Jewish heritage disovery tours
Essaouira is a seaside fishing town with a Portuguese and Jewish heritage. It is also well-known for its blue boats, white-painted buildings, delicious seafood, and the Gnawa music festival. After breakfast in your riad, explore the medina’s lively and winding lanes and photograph its huge fortifications. Visit a local leather and metal products business and photograph the artists at work. Later, visit the lively seaside to shoot the famed blue boats and pick a variety of freshly caught fish to be grilled on the spot for lunch.
In the afternoon, take a guided tour of Essaouira’s Jewish legacy. Explore the Jewish quarter, which was founded in the 18th century when Jews comprised about 40% of the town’s population. The city had had around 25 Jewish synagogues, of which just a handful exist now. Discover the freshly opened Bet Ha-Knesset Simon Attias Synagogue in Essaouira. The Simon Attias Synagogue features a Jewish museum and a potential cultural center named after historian Haim Zafrani in order to preserve Moroccan Jewish tradition and develop Essaouira’s identity.
Visit the Jewish cemetery in Essaouira as well. The elder one depicts Rabi Haim Pinto’s tomb, which is the subject of an autumn hilloul. The second Jewish cemetery was established in the 18th century to suit the town’s rising Jewish population. Several rabbis, philosophers, musicians, and other Jewish citizens of the seaside town are buried here today. Spend the night at a lovely riad in the centre of Essaouira.
Day 10: Essaouira to Marrakech
We continue our Jewish Morocco heritage tours of the cities after breakfast by traveling to Marrakech. We travel through numerous Berber communities along the trip, possibly stopping at an argan cooperative that offers better quality argan products than those found outside of Morocco. As a result, if you want to buy argan oil goods, now is an excellent time! You may even be able to see and photograph goats climbing onto argan branches to consume the leaves and argan nuts. Back in Marrakech, spend the rest of the day wandering the historic medina and visiting the vibrantly colored souks. Alternatively, kick back and relax with a drink of Morocco’s famous mint tea at your accommodation.
Day 11: Marrakech/ Morocco Jewish heritage discovery tours
Marrakech is one of Morocco’s four Imperial Cities, as well as one of the world’s most popular and well-rated tourist attractions. On this Jewish Heritage tour of Marrakech, you will see the Jewish Mellah, the Lazama Synagogue, and other Marrakech attractions. Begin your journey in the Jewish Mellah, which was established in 1558. Even though they were not permitted to possess property outside the Mellah, the Jewish community enjoyed autonomy. There are barely around 250 Jews left in the city today.
The Mellah area has just been magnificently rebuilt, and all of these Jewish souks are worth seeing. Following that, the Synagogue Bet-El, one of Marrakech’s principal meeting places for Jews, can be visited. Depending on your time and interests, you will visit the Majorelle Gardens, which belonged to Yves St Laurent and are famed for their unique shade of blue, the Yves St Laurent Museum, the El Bahia Palace, which means “the palace of the beautiful,” and the El Badi Palace. You may also go to the Quranic School, the Ben Youssef Medersa, which used to accommodate around 80 Quranic students, and the Saadian Tombs. Spend the night at your lovely riad.
Day 12: Transfer to the airport
On the last day, our driver will take you to the airport in time for your flight departure, bringing your Morocco Jewish heritage tours to a close.
- Visiting the Hassan II Mosque and shooting its wonderful workmanship.
- Visiting the Mellah and the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca.
- Visiting synagogues Beth-El, Temple Em Habanim, and Temple Neve Shalom.
- Exploring Rabat’s Jewish Mellah, where a few Jewish households remain, and meandering around the Chellah.
- Visiting Meknes’ historic and modern Jewish districts, with their small lanes and colorful courtyards.
- Exploring the Mellah and seeing Fes Synagogues and Jewish cemetery.
- Visiting Ifrane and finding Seffrou, where the Mellah makes up half of the population.
- Traveling through lovely Berber settlements, palm palms, and fortified kasbahs along the Ziz valley.
- Camel riding and sleeping in private comfy tents at a Merzouga desert camp.
- Walking through the Dades Valley and stopping at the rose-based cosmetics cooperatives of Kel’aa M’gouna.
- Exploring Ouarzazate and seeing Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO World Heritag site.
- Visit to Taroudant’s walled medina and a 700-year-old adobe-built synagogue.
- Discovering the freshly opened Bet Ha-Knesset Simon Attias Synagogue in Essaouira, as well as exploring its museum and Jewish cemetery.
- Discovering the highlights of Marrakech, such as Djemaa El Fna, El Bahia Palace, Saadian Tombs, and the stunning Majorelle Gardens.
- Visiting the newly renovated Jewish souks, Marrakech’s Mellah, and the Lazama Synagogue.
- Transport and gasoline in a private air-conditioned 4WD or mini van.
- Pick-up and drop-off at your hotel or riad, as well as airport transfers.
- English speaking driver/guide.
Air-conditioned accommodation with private bathrooms.
- Dinners and breakfasts.
- One night in an Erg Chebbi Berber camp with private toilet and shower, lighting, lots of space, and handmade furniture.
- Camel rides lasting approximately an hour to an hour and a half with a guide, as well as free sandboarding if requested – just ask the camp staff.
- Option to go to and from the camp by camels or car.
- Luggage transport to the camp and all accommodation.
- Berber music and drumming at night at the camp.
- Free time to visit sights like Mellah and Ait Ben Haddou for hikes, photographs, and tea/coffee breaks.
- The ability to request that the driver stop when and where you want.
- Entrance Fees.
- Soft drinks.