Day 1: Casablanca Arrival, Jewish Heritage Site seeing Tour & Guided City Visit
Arrival at Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport. Dinner at Kosher Restaurant in Casablanca. Visit Temple Beth-El, the Jewish Synagogue in Casablanca. Beth-El is considered the centerpiece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained glass windows and other artistic elements is what attracts tourists to this synagogue. Option to visit Temple Em Habanim and Neve Chalom as time allows.
Overnight in Hotel
Day 2: Casablanca Jewish Heritage Siteseeing Tour, then Take the road to Rabat
Visit the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca. The Jewish Museum in Casablanca covers an area of 700 square meters, is the first of its kind in the Arab world. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca is 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 Jewish Museum in Casablanca is tucked into a residential neighborhood and holds a treasure trove with it being the Arab region’s only Jewish Museum. It uses world-class standards of conservation for its national and international collections. 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.
Visit Casablanca’s Jewish Cemetery, Mellah & Synagogues:
The mellah of Casablanca is young by Moroccan standards, not much more than a century old. It assaults the senses in the evening, with a sea of women in brightly colored djellabas carrying and selling fruit and vegetables throughout the cramped, narrow streets. While Jews no longer live in the mellah, kosher butchers are found in the old market, next to other butchers selling horsemeat. The Jewish cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Once a year, Casablancans celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.
The Jewish cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Once a year, Casablancans celebrate a hiloula, or prayer festival, at the tomb of the Jewish saint, Eliahou.
The 4,500 Casablanca Jews live outside the mellah in the European city, where they worship in over 30 synagogues, eat in kosher restaurants, entertain themselves in community centers, and attend Jewish schools and social service centers. Beth El is the largest synagogue and an important community center, seating 500 persons.
Visit Temple Beth-El, the Jewish Synagogue in Casablanca. Beth-El, is considered the center piece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained glass windows and other artistic elements, is what attracts tourists to this synagogue.
Explore the Ettedgui Synagogue is well appointed in the Casablanca Medina. The house of worship is located alongside the El Mellah Museum where paintings and photographs are exhibited that retrace the history of Judaism in Morocco. It was one of a dozen synagogues that received funding for restoration and that King Mohammed VI personally attended for its celebratory reopening. The original founders, the Ettedgui family were once considered part of the bourgeois community of Casablanca. The land was registered in the cadastre 1873 and carried the legacy of the “Makhzen,” with the French protectorate welcoming the construction of the synagogue in 1920. It was partly destroyed in error, during the bombing of the allies in 1942. Ettedgui was then rebuilt in the 1980s with the complete reconstruction finalized as part of the rehabilitation project of the old medina of Casablanca launched by the Sovereign in 2010. This synagogue is steeped in history and remains a symbol of openness and of peace between Moroccan communities.
Visit the Mosque of Hassan II’s promontory offers lovely views overlooking Casa in the residential Afna quarter. After touring the Mosque, head over to the New Town of Casablanca also designed by the French architect Henri Prost.
Overnight at a Hotel in Rabat.
Day 3: Rabat Guided Historical Tour & City Visit en route to Fes
Visit Rabat, and then take the road to visit Meknes and the Roman Ruins of Volubilis.
Visit the Royal Palace, the Hassan tower which stands on the hill overlooking the Wadi Bou Regreg. It is a gigantic mosque, emblematic of Rabat and famous for its unfinished minaret where storks nest. Next door, visit the beautiful Mausoleum of Mohammed V decorated with stained glass windows, white marble and a wrought-iron entryway with a stairway leading to an impressive dome. Visit the Jewish Mellah which today is now the home of very few Jewish families.
Explore the gardens nearby and visit the Palace of Rabat and visit the Necropolis at Chellah/ Kasbah of Chellah and Kasbah Oudaya. Option to visit the seaside community in Sale, which is the birthplace of Rabbi Hayyim Ben Moses Attar. Attar was an 18th Century Kabbalist born in Morocco in 1696 and known throughout the Jewish world for his Bible commentary with mystical content.
Take the road to visit Imperial City of Meknes, “the Moroccan Versailles” and the Roman Ruins of Volubilis “Walili.”
Panoramic View of Meknes – Begin the visit with a panoramic view of Meknes, which offers a splendid look at the old Islamic Medina with its numerous tall and soaring minarets. Other sites explored include Bab El Mansour, the Meknes Stables, Hedim Square, the Thursday Gate and mosque of Moulay Ismail.
Explore the Jewish Mellah & Quarter, with its narrow lanes and colorful courtyards. The presency of Jewish history is evident in the Hebraic epitaphs that date back to the Christian era. These epitaphs along with Greek inscriptions can be seen on the Meknes Jewish zaouia, a place of pilgramage where the tomb of Rabbi David Benmidan still resides.
Meknes has a historic Jewish presence. It is home to a an ancient Hebraic epitaph that dates back to the Christian era. Today Greek inscriptions still remain on the synagogue where the tomb of Rabbi David Benn Imdan, “the patron of Meknes” lies. Each street named after Jewish Rabbi’s and other well-known Jews who once occupied the city.
Eleven synagogues in total remain in Meknes of which none are currently in use daily. You may visit 1-2 during your guided Jewish Heritage Tour of Meknes along with the local Cemetery and a Jewish School.
Visit Meknes Historic Sites in the Afternoon:
Talmud Torah Syngagoue
Jewish Quarter & Cemetery
Royal Stables & Agdal Reservoir
Take the road to the Roman City of Volubilis.
Begin your visit by discovering the fascinating Roman ruins adorned with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology. The ruins are spread out across several acres and what remain visible are several fragments of wall, parts of massive columns, the capitol, the basilica and a triumphal arch. The ruins reveal how the Roman Empire transformed the original Carthaginian settlement into a typical Roman city complete with mansions, a town center, a triumphal arc and temples devoted to the Roman gods. Commence your visit in Volubilis, and then take the road to Fes.
Overnight at a Hotel or Riad in Fes.
Day 4: Fes Historical Tour of UNESCO World Heritage Sites & Jewish Heritage Sites
Visit Jewish & Muslim Historic Sites in Fes:
During this guided historical tour of UNESCO Fes you will visit the Jewish Heritage Sites and Cultural Sites of Fes that combine site seeing at Synagogues, Universities, Mosques, Cemeteries, the Mellah along with gardens and palaces. Your guide will offer a connective link between Muslim and Jewish Morocco.
Jewish History of Fes & Historic Fes El Bali
Fes is among the best known cities in medieval Jewish history. It was once the home of one of the most influential Talmudic scholars of all times, Fes was founded by Idriss I in the eighth century.
Fes (referred to as Fes El Bali) is among the best known cities in medieval Jewish history. Fes is the leading spiritual center and the former artistic and intellectual capital in Morocco well respected for its former historic and significant population that celebrated Jewish life. It was once the home of Rabbi Isaac Alfasi, the most influential Talmudic scholars of all times. Founded by Moulay Idriss in the eighth century, Fes is the leading spiritual center and the former artistic, intellectual capital in Morocco. Well respected for its historic signifcance and its former Jewish population, who openly celebrated Jewish life, Fes is a must see city for all Jewish travelers. The name of Fes has its origins in the word pickaxe (hand tool) which legends say Idriss of Morocco used in siler or gold to create the boundaries of the old city.
During this Guided Jewish Heritate and Culture Tour of UNESCO Fes you will visit Jewish Heritage Sites and Cultural Sites of Fes that combine site seeing at Synagogues, Medival Universities, Mosques, Cemeteries, a Children’s School, the Mellah along with gardens and palaces. Your guide will offer a connective link between Muslim and Jewish Morocco.
The Jewish Mellah: In contrast with the young Mellah of Casablanca, the mellah of Fes is over 650 years old. This picturesque neighborhood adjoins the royal palace, noted for its recently constructed bright brass doors. Jews took shelter in this palace during the 1912 pogrom.
The Jewish Cemetery: The nearby cemetery contains the tombs of more Jewish saints than any other cemetery in Morocco. One of the more important saints is Solica, who was killed for refusing to convert to Islam.
Maimonides:Throughout the old city of Fes, there are traces of ancient Jewish life, including the home of Maimonides, who lived in the city from 1159-1165. Suffering from the persecutions of the Almohad dynasty, Maimonides emigrated to escape forced conversion. In the face of a declining population, the Jewish community of Fes is working hard to maintain its community spirit and preserve its heritage and traditions. The community center, Centre Communautaire “Maimonide,” is one of the most well organized in Morocco, with a kosher restaurant and modern synagogue on the premises
The Danan Synagogue: The Danan synagogue was once only one of several inside the walls of Fes, and not the most elaborate. TheI Ibn Danan Synagogue is one of the oldest and most intact synagogues in Morocco. This synagogue, located in the heart of the mellah (Jewish quarter), is a rare survivor of a pivotal time in Moroccan Jewish history.
Synagogues of Fes Unmarked on their exteriors – dating from the 17th century: among the most unique in the world. The Mellah of Fes once had 40 synagogues. See the vast and picturesque whitewashed Jewish cemetery adjacent to the gates to the Royal Palace and the nascent Jewish Museum at the Em HaBanim synagogue.
Old Medina Muslim Sites & Shopping in Fes:
University of Al-Karaouine
Zaouia Moulay Idriss II
Overnight at a Hotel or Riad in Fes.
Day 5: Fes Guided Excursion to Jewish Seffrou
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.
Afternoon Option Gardens & Palaces of Fes:
Jnane Sbil Gardens:
Batha Museum & Andalusian Garden
Bou Inania Medersa
Overnight in Fes.
Day 6: Fes Departure to Marrakech via Ifrane & Beni Mellal
Take the road to Marrakech.
En route stop to see the view of Ifrane University and go for a short walk around the garden. Ifrane is nick named “Little Switzerland” of Morocco for its architecture, cedar forest and winter ski resort options. Developed by the French during the protectorate era for their administration due to its Alpine climat, this Moroccan town has a remarkable European style, as if it were an Alpine village. Because of its elevation, the town experiences snow during the winter months and a cool climate during the summer.
Enjoy coffee, tea and pastries in Ifrane at an outdoor cafe.
Make a short stop in Zaouia Cheikh. This is one of the 30 damns that are scheduled to be built in Morocco by 2030. The idea originating with Hassan II to build one dam a year to irrigate the country is being carried on by the current King Mohammed VI.
Lunch at Hotel Paris in Beni Mellal.
Overnight at a Hotel or Riad in Marrakech.
Day 7: Marrakech Guided Historical Tour
Visit Marrakech’s Gardens, Palaces, and Jewish Heritage Sites.
The Majorelle Gardens & Berber Museum
The Majorelle Gardens, previously the Jardin Bou Saf, bears its name from its original creator, Jacques Majorelle, the French expatriate artist who was born in Nancy France in 1886. In 1947 he opened his gardens to the public and during this time also painted a magnificent ceiling space at La Mamounia hotel. Later, French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent purchased the gardens. Today the Majorelle Gardens house a unique collection of flora and fauna along with the Berber Museum.
The Old Spice Market
The Rahba Kedima is a colorful market filled with a wide array of spices from Cumin, Cinnamon, Saffron, Dried Pepper and more.
The Jewish Mellah
Founded in 1558 by Moulay Abdallah, the Mellah district was designated as the Jewish quarter in Marrakech.
El Bahia Palace
The El Bahia Palace in Marrakech is a beautiful building and an excellent example of Eastern Architecture from the 19th century that represents trends and standards of the wealthy that lived at that time.
Visit the Marrakech Lazama Synagogue in the old medina. This Quarter was created in the Kasbah area in 1558. The Jewish community enjoyed autonomy even though Jews weren’t allowed to own any property outside the Mellah and controlled the sugar trade. There are approximately 250 Jews still living in Marrakech, and most live outside the Medina.
Visit Synagogue Bet-El, Impasse Des Moulins (Centre American) – Gueliz.
Rabbi Hanania Hacohen Cemetery. Tour the Rabbi Hanania Hacohen Cemetery, the place of burual for Rabbi Mordekhai Ben Attar and Rabbi Pinhas Hacohen Azough, where the “patron of Marrakech” resides.
The Saadian Tombs
The Saadian tombs in Marrakech date back from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603). The tombs were only recently discovered (in 1917) and were restored by the Beaux-arts service. The mausoleum comprises the corpses of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty that originated in the valley of the Draa River.
Overnight at a Hotel or Riad in Marrakech.
Day 8: Marrakech Day trip to atlas mountain – Mule ride experience in Imlil and berber villages
Atlas Mountains is the greatest mountain range of North Africa, is perhaps the most beautiful and intriguing part of Morocco. It has retained a remoteness which until recent decades was virtually complete, and contains villages where the way of life has changed little for centuries,
Mule Trek in the High Atlas is one of the best possible experiences in Morocco – feasible exploration of stunning natural beauty, and of a rigidly individual world.
–Our car takes us to Imlil, a small Berber villagein the heart of Atlas Mountains. Mules and muleteers are already waiting for us and we will start after a welcome tea.
The walk leads us through landscapes with great views to the Toubkal National Park and Mount Toubkal the highest peak in North Africa, uphill and downhill, and the mules carry us safe and with caution along these narrow paths. Our trek takes us to the jewish village of Aroumd. In here we will enjoy lunch and a mint tea in a Berber family house. After this refreshment, we continue our tour and in the late afternoon our vehicle will bring us back to Marrakech
Overnight at a Hotel or Riad in Marrakech.
Day 9: Marrakech Excursion to Coastal Essaouira, Jewish Heritage Sites of Essaouira
Depart for Seaside Essaouira, a seaside fishing town known for it’s Portuguese and Jewish History along with hand painted charming blue, white and yellow painted houses, fresh seafood and artist community.
Essaouira’s charming artist colony that boasts lovely whitewashed and blue-shuttered houses, colonnades, thuya wood workshops, art galleries and mouthwatering seafood. Once called Mogador by European sailors and traders, Essaouria is known for its annual GnaouaMusicFestival that attracts 300,000+ people in June. It also has an expansive beach for surfing called Plage de Safi.
Many of Essaouira’s painted houses still have the Star of David above the doorways of Jewish homes. Each year religious Jews from around the world come to Essaouira for an annual pilgrimage to visit the grave of Rabbi Haim Pinto who passed on in 1845. The hiloula celebrating Rabbi Haim Pinto is held each September.
Today the home of Rabbi Haim Pinto and the synagogue have been preserved as a historic and religious site. The building is an active synagogue, used when pilgrims or Jewish tour groups visit the city.
A generation ago there were Jewish inhabitants in Essaouira however today there is just one family left called the Jacky Kadoch family and descendants of other Jewish families. Jacky Kadoch is the president of Essaouira’s Jewish community.
Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 10: Marrakech Departure
Departure from Casablanca or Marrakech’s airport.