Travel on a Morocco itinerary to the Jewish Heritage Sites. Your trip will be educational as well as interesting. You will spend time exploring many interesting landmarks like the ancient synagogues, colorful souks, amazing landscapes, tombs, and many more. You will also get the chance to visit the Jewish Museum, which is the only one found in the Muslim countries. You may also attend the holy services on the Sabbath. This is a tour for sophisticated people who want to explore the richness of Jewish traditions. If you’re Jewish, this tour might be an opportunity to discover where your ancestors might have lived. It will surely feel like home in many of the landmarks.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MOROCCO JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR
- Visiting the landmarks of Casablanca.
- Seeing Temple Beth- El Synagogue, Em Habanim, and Neve Chalom.
- Exploring the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, also in Casablanca.
- Attending the Shabbat Services in Fes.
- Having dinner at a Rabbi’s or a Kosher Restaurant.
- Meetings with Local Jewish Community.
- Exploring the historic sites and quarters of Jewish people in Fes, Meknes, and Marrakech.
- Enjoying the stays at the Riads and Hotels of Morocco.
MOROCCO JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR ITINERARY:
Day 1: Arrival at Casablanca, Sightseeing & Guided City Visit
Once you arrive at Casablanca’s international airport, you will go to have dinner at a kosher restaurant after visiting Temple Beth-El, the largest synagogue in Casablanca. It’s a synagogue that was one of the major centers of the local Jewish community. The beauty of the internal and external designs are what makes this tourist attraction very popular. If time allows it, you will also visit Temple Em Habanim and Neve Chalom.
Overnight in a boutique hotel for a friendlier atmosphere.
Day 2: Sightseeing Tour in Casablanca’s Jewish Heritage sites before traveling to Rabat
You will start the day with a trip to the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca. It’s the only museum of Jewish heritage found in the entire Arab World. This museum conserves the ethnographic, religious, and artistic artifacts of the Moroccan Jewish community. The Museum of Judaism was founded by the Moroccan Jewish people and the Foundation of Jewish-Moroccan Cultural Heritage back in 1997. There are over 4,500 Jews in Casablanca. They live mostly in the European City, where they worship in their synagogues, dine in kosher restaurants, and attend their madrasas.
After that, you will go to explore the mellah of Casablanca. This Jewish quarter is relatively younger than the others found in other cities like Fes. The mellah of Casablanca is a busy place and its streets are narrow and colorful. You won’t find Jewish people living there, but you can find kosher and horsemeat butchers. You may also visit the local cemetery to see the well-preserved white graves with Hebrew, French, and Spanish engravings. The local Jewish community celebrates hiloula every year at the tomb of the Jewish Saint, Eliahou.
You will also visit the iconic Hassan II mosque to see Casablanca from a place that offers a panoramic view. Then, you may visit the Art Deco New Town of Casablanca to see early 20th-century architecture.
Finally, you will ride to Rabat where you’ll spend the night in a local Riad.
Day 3: Guided Historical Tour in Rabat before heading to Meknes, Volubilis, and Fes
You will visit on this guided tour of the Royal Palace, which is a great building by all the standards. After that the unfinished project, Hassan Tower that was intended to be the biggest mosque in the 12th century. After that, you may visit the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, one of the most iconic and mesmerizing places in Rabat. Afterward, you will go to the mellah of Rabat that is hosting a few Jewish families.
You will explore the Chellah Necropolis with its Kasbah and the historic Oudaya Kasbah. You may also travel to Sale, which is on the other side of the river. Sale was home to one of the notorious Cabbalists, Hayyim Ben Moses Attar, who was known in the Jewish community all over the world for his commentary on the bible.
Later, the trip will take you to the imperial city of Meknes. You will take a panoramic look at the city from above to see the old medina. Then, you may explore the landmarks that include the huge gate Bab El Mansour, Lahdim Square, the royal stables, Sahrij Swani pool, and Moulay Ismail Mosque, etc. After that, you can go to the mellah of Meknes. This mellah is full of Jewish heritage, including Hebraic epitaphs that date back to the Christian era. The Jewish zaouia of Meknes is a pilgrimage spot because it hosts the tomb of Rabbi David Benmidan.
You may also explore the Talmud Torah Synagogue, Bou Inania Madrasa, and Jamai Museum if time allows it.
The trip will take you after that to the Roman City, Volubilis. It’s a great opportunity to take a look at the intricate mosaic of old Rome and its architecture. The ruins of this Roman landmark include temples, a triumphal arch, and everything you typically find in Roman cities.
Finally, the rip of the day ends in Fes, where you may stay in a traditional Riad.
Day 4: Tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites & Jewish Heritage Sites of Fes
Fes if packed with Jewish and Muslim landmarks. The medina of Fes is one of the well-preserved medieval cities in the world. It hosts many historical sites for Jewish people as well as Muslims, and it was home to many influential Talmudic scholars. For those reasons (and more), it’s considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can visit the mellah of Fes. Unlike the one in Casablanca, Fes’ mellah is very old (650 years old). The mellah is located near the Royal Palace. During the riots of Fes in 1912, Jews took shelter in the Royal Palace.
You may also attend the Shabbat services if the day coincides with the day.
After that, the guided tour will take you to the Jewish cemetery of Fes which holds the tombs of more saints than any other place in Morocco. The most notable saint is Solica, who died refusing to convert his religion.
You will also visit Centre Communautaire “Maimonide,” a tribute to the Jewish philosopher, who suffered from the prosecution of The Almohad dynasty back in the 12th century.
Later, you will visit the Danan synagogue, which is located in the heart of the mellah. It’s one of the oldest and sophisticated synagogues in Morocco. There are many other synagogues in Fes that you can visit. Fes once had 40 synagogues. Another famous synagogue is Em HaBanim.
Finally, you may explore some of the Muslim landmarks like the University of Al-Karaouine, which is the oldest university in the world. And if you’re a fan of carpets, you can go to a weaver’s cooperative to check out some cool ones. Notably, the medina of Fes is a great spot for buying souvenirs and authentic artifacts.
Overnight stay in a traditional riad.
Day 5: Excursion to the Jewish town, Seffrou
Seffrou is the capital of cherries in Morocco. It was considered a little version of Jerusalem due to the huge number of Jews who lived there. This city is a remarkable example of a place where people from different religions lived in harmony.
On the way to Seffrou, make sure to stop for a visit to the Bhalil cemetery.
On the guided tour of Seffrou, will explore the medina. The mellah of Seffrou makes up half of the Medina.
Visit Seffrou, the capital of cherries. Sefrou, south of Fes, was known as Little Jerusalem due to its high percentage of Jews and its well-developed religious life. Upon Morocco’s independence, a rabbi from Sefrou was elected to Parliament. Sefrou’s mellah makes up half of the old city.
En route to Sefrou make a short stop to visit Bhalil a cemetery
Sefrou was once a major center for Morocco’s Jews and its walled white pedestrian medina is still characterized by their houses with wooden balconies.
A good example of interfaith dialogue in Morocco can be witnessed in the city of Sefrou. In Sefrou lived Muslims and Jews in good harmony door to door and practiced their religious rituals in unison.
After you finish up with Seffrou, you may visit some other places in Fes like Jnane Sbil Gardens,
Batha Museum and the Andalusian Garden.
Overnight again at a Riad in the Medina of Fes
Day 6: Fes Heading to Marrakech via Ifrane and Beni Mellal
The trip to Marrakech from Fes is relatively long. But there are plenty of cool spots on the way that you can visit.
Firstly, there’s the town Ifrane, which is likened to Swiss towns due to its climate and European style architecture. The most remarkable landmark of Ifrane is the big statue of a lion. You can drink coffee in this peaceful town before taking the road once again.
You may also stop in the city of Khenifra, which is another peaceful place. The city is surrounded by mountains from all directions and the nature is fantastic in the region, namely the nearby lakes and the source of Oum Rabia River.
The third potential stop of the trip is Zaouia Cheikh, which is a cool place to taste tagines and enjoy the fresh air.
Later, you will stop at Beni Mellal for lunch if you haven’t had it in Zaouia Cheikh.
Overnight stay will be in the medina of Marrakech at one of the authentic riads.
Day 7: Guided Historical Tour in Marrakech.
On this day, you may visit Marrakech’s Gardens, enchanting palaces, and all the Jewish Heritage Sites.
You can start your journey in the amazing Majorelle Gardens. Previously known as Jardin Bou Saf, these gardens now hold the name of their creator, Jacque Majorelle. The gardens took 40 years in their creation. Nowadays, the Majorelle Gardens host fauna and flora from the entire world. These gardens are also home to the Berber Museum.
Your trip will take you after that to the Rahba Kedima souk. You can shop spices in this colorful market along with other traditional goods. After that, you may go to the 16th-century mellah of Marrakech.
Go after that to the iconic Bahia palace to discover the taste of the Moroccan aristocracy of the 19th Century.
The next stop on the list is Lazama Synagogue, which is a culturally significant place. During the days of the 16th century, Jews were not allowed to own propriety outside the mellah. However, they were crucial to the economy and markets of the region because they controlled the sugar trade.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to the Saadian tombs where you can find the graves of the Saadian Dynasty monarchs and members.
Other places like Impasse Des Moulins, Gueliz, and Synagogue Bet-El are also must visits.
Overnight stay will be in a Riad.
Day 8: Leisure time in Marrakech by relaxing in La Mamounia Gardens & bathing in a Hammam
The Mamounia Gardens are very sophisticated. You may relax for a few hours there and won’t feel bored. The gardens feature many orchards, trees, fountains, private pools, and many more. It’s highly recommended to drink Moroccan mint tea to feel even more relaxed in these gardens.
Another great place similar to the gardens above is the Abderrazzak Benchaabane’s Palmeraie Gardens & Museum.
You may want to visit a Hammam on this day for some spa and relaxation. Moroccan Hammams in Marrakech are very luxurious.
Overnight at a riad.
Day 9: Excursion from Marrakech to the Coastal City, Essaouira
Departing from Marrakech, you will travel to Essaouira. On the way, you can spot goats climbing Argan trees. You might want to stop to see them and to purchase Argan oil from a local cooperative.
Once you’re in Essaouira, you can explore the sites. It’s a city with many Portuguese landmarks, namely the Skala Ramparts. The city used to be called Mogador by the European sailors and traders.
Essaouira is like a colony of artists and art lovers. The whole city looks like a piece of art, with its blue washed walls and doors, featuring the Star of David. Every year, the city hosts more than 300,000 people from all over the world who come to attend the Gnaoua Festival.
Also, if you’re a surfer, you can practice your hobby in Essaouira; it’s one of the most famous spots for surfing in Africa.
As for the Jewish Heritage sites, you may visit the home of Rabbi Haim Pinto, which is a synagogue; It’s a place that Jewish pilgrims visit. Essaouira was once packed with Jewish families. Nowadays, only a few are left. But, their marks are still there.
Overnight in a Marrakech riad as usual.
Day 10: Final day
This day is the last day of the Morocco Jewish Heritage tour. You may leave Morocco from the international airport of Marrakech or the one in Casablanca.
This program only our suggestion. You may alter it to fit your preferences the way you want.