Find Your Tour

1-800-787-8806 | In Morocco + 212-618-88-26-81 | Mail:

Jewels of Jewish Heritage / 10 Days
Imperial Cities, Jewish Mellahs, Synagogues, & Ancient Sites

Jewels of Jewish Heritage Tour 10 Days

Jewels of Jewish Heritage / 10 Days

Morocco is one of the ancient intersections of civilization. Boldly situated on the far northwestern corner of North Africa, its expansive shoreline stretches from the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar to the Mediterranean. The cultural diversity of contemporary Morocco reflects its historic vantage point as a gateway to Europe and the world. Morocco’s grand history of which Jews have historically been a part. Morocco’s heritage offers visitors an encounter with an exotic society and its customs, an incomparable cuisine, and a shopper’s paradise of magnificent markets. Our Jewels of Jewish Heritage Private Tour offers Morocco Travelers an insider Jewish experience. Visit Morocco’s historic synagogues, cemeteries, architectural sites, in Fes, Seffrou and Marrakech. Celebrate Shabbat with services and dinner at a Rabbi’s home. Up Close Meeting with Local Jewish Community.


Arrival at Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca.

Transfer to your Hotel. Options upon arrival include tea & pastries, or evening drinks.

Dinner Recommendations: El Mer, Rick’s Cafe, or La Scala.

Spend the night at a Luxury Hotel in Casablanca.

Breakfast at your hotel in Casablanca.

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 Jewish Museum is the first to be created in an Arab country. The Museum holds the treasures of the Arab regionʼs only Jewish Museum. Using world-class standards of conservation for the 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.

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, Hanukkah 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. Visit Casablanca’s Jewish Cemetery. 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.

Visit the old Jewish Mellah of Casablanca. While Jews no longer live in the mellah, kosher butchers can still be found in the old market.

Casablanca Jewish Community & Overview:

Casablanca harbors the largest Jewish community in Morocco and has numerous congregations, active communal institutions, and many highly recommended kosher restaurants. The 4,500 Casablancan Jews in Casablanca live outside the mellah in the European city, where they worship in over 30 synagogues, eat in kosher restaurants, entertain themselves in community centers, attend Jewish schools, and use social service centers.

They worship at Temple Beth El, the largest synagogue and an important community center, seating 500 persons. The Jewish community of Casablanca also contributed to the construction of the Hassan II Mosque, the second largest in the world. Some Jews annually visit the Muslim shrine of Sidi Belyout, Casablanca’s patron saint. Many Jews of Casablanca celebrate the hiloula of the saint Yahia Lakhdar in Ben Ahmed, about an hour south of Casablanca near the town of Settat.

The synagogues, cemeteries, monuments, and communal institutions of Casablanca show how important the city has been to the Jewish community during the twentieth century.

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.

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 attract many tourists.

Take the road to Rabat.

Dinner at your hotel.

Spend the night at a Luxury hotel in Rabat.

Breakfast at your hotel in Rabat

Begin with a tour of Rabat, then take the road to visit Meknes and the Roman ruins of Volubilis.

Visit the Hassan Tower, which stands on the hill overlooking the Wadi Bou Regreg. A gigantic mosque, that is emblematic of Rabat and famous for the unfinished minaret where storks nest. Next door, visit the beautiful Mausoleum of Mohammed V decorated with stained glass windows, white marble, a wrought- iron entryway, and a stairway leading to an impressive dome.

Explore the gardens nearby and visit the Palace of Rabat, the Necropolis at the Kasbah of Chellah, and Kasbah Oudaya.

Take the road to Meknes.

Meknes is an Imperial City that is known for its Hebraic epitaph whichdates from the Christian era and there are Greek inscriptions that still appear in local synagogues. Meknes is also a place of pilgrimage where the tomb of Rabbi David Benimdan “the patron of Meknes” is located. The Mellah where streets are known by its historic names is not to be missed along with the new Jewish “ghetto” which harbors eleven synagogues of which eight are still in use.

Begin the visit with a panoramic view of Meknes which offers a splendid look at the old Islamic Medina with its numerous soaring minarets.

Visit the old Jewish quarter on arrival in Meknes. With its narrow lanes and colorful courtyards, the old mellah, or Jewish quarter, was once located on a slanted gorge. In the 1920s, the Jewish community acquired the land next to the old Mellah and constructed a new, larger quarter. The first houses in the new mellah were built in 1924 and the Rabbi Yeoushoua Synagogue was inaugurated in 1926. The Talmud Torah Synagogue, which will be the focus of the Meknes visit, was built in 1930. Visit the aging Talmud Torah in the Jewish Quarter.

Lunch in Meknes.

Visit the Synagogue in Meknes. (Must be arranged in advance).

Visit the Royal Stables & Agdal Reservoir. The Royal Stables and Agdal Reservoir were built by Moulay Ismail, along with immense granaries. The Royal Stables is an amazing sight. This massive stable yard and reservoir were constructed to comfortably house and water up to twelve thousand royal horses.

Visit the Musée Dar Jamaï. The Dar Jamaï museum shows modern Moroccan arts, woodwork, ceramics, carpets, costumes, jewelry, and metalwork. The sophisticated building was once a palace incorporating a mosque, menzah, courtyard, kitchen, and hammam.

Next, visit the Bou Inania Madrasa to explore the beautiful Koranic school established by the Merinids in the 14th century.

Opposite of the Medrasa, see the Grand Mosque.

Place El-Hedim is the central public square in Meknes that comes alive in the afternoon. Be sure to visit the Bab el Mansour Gate which is regarded as one of the most beautiful gates in Morocco and the most important gateway in Meknes. It opens into the mechouar of the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. The gate was named after El Mansour, the architect, and was completed in 1732. El Mansour was a Christian rebel who converted to Islam.

Visit the Old Medina and Bab el-Khemis. Stroll through the ancient walls of the medina and the Islamic cemetery which extends from the Jewish quarter and the entrance to the Old Mellah. Enter through Bab el-Khemis. Bab el-Khemis is a large decorated gate from the 17th century often referred to as the Thursday Gate because of its proximity to a nearby camel market which was held on Thursdays. It was also the entrance to the old Mellah, or Jewish quarter, and gardens. A Jewish past still echos at every corner.

Visit the 17th Century Kasbah. Famous for its military scale, Meknes Kasbah has a massive extension of walls and monumental gates that are wondrous to explore. Meknes is classified as UNESCO World Heritage Site for the highly important masterpieces left by the zealous sultan who built in a Roman fashion. Meknes is the Versailles of Africa and is named after a Berber tribe which was known as Miknasa. Take the road to Volubilis.

Roman Ruins of Volubilis – The breathtaking archaeological site of Volubilis, also referred to as Oualili, was once a thriving town occupied by the Romans. Volubilis has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and gained international acclaim when Martin Scorsese made it a feature location for the film The Last Temptation of Christ. Discover the fascinating Roman ruins adorned with beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology. The ruins are spread out across several acres and what remains visible is 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 arch, and temples devoted to Roman gods.

Enjoy tea at the small café that sits just below the Volubilis ruins. Next explore the open-air museum with remains of altars, sculptural fragments, and colorful mosaics.

Take the road to Fes.

Spend the night at a Luxury Hotel in Fes.

Breakfast at your riad in Fes.

Visit Jewish & Muslim Historic Sites in Fes.

Fes is among the best known cities from medieval Jewish history and home to one of the most influential Talmudic scholars of all times, Rabbi Isaac Alfasi. Fes was founded by Idriss I in the 8th century. His goal was to convert all his subjects to Islam, but his son and successor was more tolerant. Under Idriss II, the fledgling city expanded. After his death, further development was delayed until the 11th century when Prince Youseff Ibn Tachfine united both halves of the city and built a wall around Fes. This security of the wall began a prolonged period of prosperity that would peak in the 14th century under the reign of the Merinides Dynasty.

The Jewish 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 nearby Jewish Cemetery contains the tombs of more Jewish saints than any other cemetery in Morocco. One of the more important saints is Lalla Solica, who was killed for refusing to convert to Islam. Solica was born in Tangier in 1817. At the age of 16, she was courted by a Muslim man, but refused to marry him. To force her hand, the man went to the caid, the local government official. The man told the caid that Solica could not refuse his offer of marriage because she was no longer Jewish, having converted to Islam of her own free will. When called before the caid, she refused to acknowledge having converted. The Sultan called her to Fes, where she again denied her conversion. As a result, she was condemned to death for apostasy and killed in 1834.

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 to 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.

Visit the Ibn Danan Synagogue – the oldest existing synagogue in Fes. The Ibn Danan synagogue was once one of several inside the walls of Fes. Enter through a simple doorway indistinguishable from the doors of nearby houses. The door leads to a short flight of stairs up into the high, rectangular space of the synagogue. The construction is masonry coated with plaster. The wooden ceiling is beamed and painted. The room is lit by small windows high in the walls. Photos taken in 1954 show a ceiling hung with numerous memorial lamps, now vanished. The walls are lined with wainscotting in blue figured Moroccan tiles. The large Torah Ark, a cupboard filling the width of an entire wall, is made of carved wood. The wall above is decorated with intricately carved plaster work. Opposite the Torah Ark is a raised alcove, separated from the main prayer space by a wooden screen elaborately carved with a series of arches that was intended as a seating area for the congregations more distinguished members. The bimah is accessed from this space, constructed as a small platform cantilevered out from the raised area. The wooden bimah is topped by a wrought iron canopy of Islamic-style arches and floral forms, culminating in a crown. The Rabbi Shlomo ibn Danan Synagogue is one of the oldest and most intact synagogues in Morocco. This synagogue, located in the heart of the Mellah, is a rare survivor of a pivotal time in Moroccan Jewish history.

Old Medina Muslim Sites & Shopping in Fes:

See the University of al-Karaouine. Founded in 859, this university is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world, and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world.

Visit Mausolem – Zaouia Moulay Idriss, a shrine and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fes.

Dar El-Batha Museum and Andalusian Gardens offer up a great collection of pottery, leatherwork, wood, books, and manuscripts from the nineteenth century. The Batha Andalusian Garden boasts a three-hundred year old Quercus Rotundifolia, Washington Fifera, Cycas Revolta, and gorgeous Moroccan fountains. The Batha Garden is a serene escape from the bustling medina in Fes. Every June during Fes Festival of Sacred World Music various world music groups perform in the Museum and gardens.

Lunch in Fes at a Restored Palace.

Walk along Attarine street filled with the spice and perfume scents of Fes. Shop and explore carpet shops and local handicrafts. Watch Berber carpet weaving demonstrations.

Visit the Weavers Cooperative located in a residential neighborhood. The workshop specializes in weaving the finest jellaba fabric made of silk and wool threads imported from Italy. The shop also makes a quality jellaba fabric from a locally spun, textured wool thread called hubba. Hubba is sometimes referred to as couscous because its nubby texture resembles Morocco’s national semolina dish of the same name.

Dinner Recommendations:

Riad Fes – Elegant and modern Moroccan cuisine.

La Maison Blanche – A melange of French and Moroccan haute cuisine.

Le Maison Bleue – Traditional Moroccan cuisine at its best. Accompanied by Moroccan music.

Palais Dar Tazi- Moroccan cuisine with a twist, Andalusian music, all within a riad with views of the sunset and the old medina.

Spend the night at a Luxury Hotel in Fes.

Breakfast at your riad in Fes.

Visit Sefrou, 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 we will make a short stop to visit Bhalil a cemetery where the Rabbi Lahou Harroch and Rabbi Raphael Moshe Elbaz are buried.

Sefrou, rarely disturbed by tourists, was once a major center for Morocco’s Jews and its walled white pedestrian medina is still characterized by their houses with wooden balconies. The medina is dissected by the River Aggai which enters the town via a small waterfall above the separate walled ksar. Beside the Bab Makame, the Cooperative Artisanale offers good quality handicrafts at very reasonable prices.

A good example of interfaith dialogue in Morocco can be witnessed in the city of Sefrou situated 30km south of the spiritual capital of Fes. In Sefrou, Muslims and Jews lived in harmony as neighbors and practised their religious rituals in unison. They also venerated the same saint buried in a grotto in a neighbouring mountain. The site was tactfully called Kaf al-Moumen, the grotto of the faithful, because it was a religious sanctuary for both Muslims and Jews and times of worships in this area were equally divided.

There was a time when Jews made up almost half the population of Sefrou. There were only 5,000 Jews in Sefrou in 1948 living only in the mellah. Just outside the mellah is a vacant home and school for Jewish orphans that was administered by the Moroccan organization, Em Habonim, and funded by the London Jewish Community during World War II. There is a simple synagogue within the complex. Sefrou’s main Jewish cemetery is being restored using funds from those who have emigrated. Historic headstones have been mounted within cement monuments. Sefrou has several saints, including Moshe Elbaz, the Masters of the Cave, Eliahou Harraoch, and David Arazil.

Evening Service at Synagogue in the Ville Nouvelle (new town) of Fes and Dinner at the Rabbi’s home. (Possible only on Friday evening)

Spend the night at a Luxury Hotel in Fes.

Breakfast at your riad in Fes.

Visit Fes most famous gardens, enjoy spa time at your Riad, or choose from Sidi Harazam or Moulay Yacoub Thermal Spa.

Visit Sofitel Palais Jamai Garden for a morning tea. Sofitel Palais Jamai’s Garden is one of the oldest Andalusian gardens in Fes and all of Morocco.

Visit Jnane Sbil Gardens originally created by the Sultan Moulay Abdallah. Jnane Sbil encompasses 7.5 hectares, is located in the heart of city, and is one of the oldest gardens in Fes. Because of its historical importance, great care was taken to restore the garden to its original design. After four years of detailed restoration and renovation of the heirloom plants, the hydraulic systems, and the famous waterwheel, the project was completed and reopened in June 2010.

Next visit the Batha Museum & Andalusian Gardens. The Musee Dar el-Batha offers up a great collection of pottery, leatherwork, wood, books and manuscripts from the nineteenth century centered around a green spacious courtyard. The Batha Andalusian Garden boasts a three-hundred year old Quercus Rotundifolia, Washington Fifera, Cycas Revolta and Moroccan fountains.

Visit the Bab Boujloud Gardens. Enter through the Gate of the Bab Boujloud.

Visit the Bou Inania Medersa. The Madrasa Bou Inania is a madrasa founded in AD 1351–56 by Abu Inan Faris. It is widely acknowledged as a major example of Marinid architecture. The madrasa functioned as both an educational institute and a congregational mosque. It was the last madrasa to be built by the Marinides.

Lunch in the old medina at a Palais M’nebhi, a palace style restaurant with an engaging history, courtyard, and views.

Evening Service at Synagogue in the Ville Nouvelle (new town) of Fes and Dinner at the Rabbi’s home. (Possible only on Friday evening)

Spend the night at a Luxury Hotel in Fes.

(Driving Time: 7 1/2 Hours)

Breakfast at your hotel in Fes.

Take the road to Marrakech.

En route to Marrakech, stop to see the view of Ifrane University and go for a short walk around the garden. Ifrane is nicknamed “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 climate, 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. Ifrane is also the place where the lowest temperature was ever recorded in Africa. Animals to be found in the vicinity include the threatened Barbary Macaque. Among the local tree species are the native Atlas cedar, Scrub oak, and the introduced London plane.

It is said that Ifrane was historically once the capital of a Jewish Kingdom. Visit the villages only synagogue and cemetery which has been the center of pilgrimage for Moroccan Jews for centuries.

Enjoy coffee, tea, and pastries in Ifrane at an outdoor cafe.

Make a short stop in Zaouia Cheikh near the dam. This is one of the 30 damns that is scheduled to be built in Morocco by 2030. The idea to build one dam a year to irrigate the country originated with Hassan II and is being carried on by the current King Mohammed VI.

Lunch at Hotel Paris in Beni Mellal.

Arrive in Marrakech in the early evening.

Spend the night at a Luxury Hotel in Marrakech.

Breakfast at your hotel.

Begin your Marrakech Historical Tour.

Visit 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. Jacques Majorelle was the son of the celebrated Art Nouveau furniture designer Louis Majorelle. In 1947 he opened his gardens to the public and during this time also painted a magnificent ceiling space at La Mamounia, a five-star hotel with gardens. Jacques Majorelle studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nancy in 1901 and later, in 1919, he went to Marrakesh to recover from heart problems. He built the garden during those years using a special color of blue extensively in the garden that is now named after him, Majorelle Blue. Jacques Majorelle returned to France in 1962 after a car accident and died later thatv year of complications from his injuries. As a collector of unique plants from five continents Jacque Majorelle left Yves Saint Laurent one of the more unique collections of flora and fauna of this era, as well as a place of inspiration and contemplation. Even though Morocco is no longer under the French protectorate, this originally French creation is one of the most beloved areas in Morocco.

Visit the Old Spice Market, Rahba Kedima. A colorful market filled with a wide array of fresh spices such as cumin, cinnamon, saffron, dried pepper, and more.

Visit the Jewish Mellah. Founded in 1558 by Moulay Abdallah, the Mellah district was designated as the Jewish quarter in Marrakech. At the time of the Spanish religious wars, Jewish refugees escaped the country and were offered this little piece of security by the Sultan.

Visit the 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 the trends and standards of the wealthy at that time. The palace is surrounded by an eight hectare garden.

The Marrakech Synagogue is in the old medina. This quarter was created in the Kasbah in 1558. The Jewish community enjoyed autonomy in this area, but Jews were not allowed to own any property outside the Mellah. During the 1500s, Jews controlled the sugar trade in Marrakech. There are approximately 250 Jews still living in Marrakech now, although most live outside the Medina. The Mellah area is now almost completely Muslim.

Option to visit the Synagogue Bet-El, Impasse Des Moulins (Centre Americain), Gueliz.

Visit the Saadian tombs. The Saadian tombs in Marrakech date from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. The tombs, which date from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603), were only recently discovered in 1917 and restored by the Beaux-Arts service. The mausoleum comprises the tombs of about sixty members of the Saadi Dynasty that originated in the the Draa Valley. The stele is made in finely worked cedar wood and stucco work. The monuments are made of Italian Carrara marble. Outside the building is a garden containing the graves of soldiers and servants.

Visit the Museum of Marrakech. The Museum of Marrakech, a Contemporary Moroccan Art Museum or Tiskiwin, is a private museum dedicated to popular arts and crafts located in a beautiful Spanish-Moroccan house, next door to Dar Si Said palace, a smaller version of the Bahia.

The museum is housed in the Dar Menebhi Palace, built at the end of the 19th century by Mehdi Menebhi. The palace was carefully restored by the Omar Benjelloun Foundation and converted into a museum in 1997. The house itself represents an example of classical Andalusian architecture, with fountains in the central courtyard, traditional seating areas, a hammam, intricate tile work, and wood carving.

The museum’s large atrium, once originally a courtyard and now covered in glass and fabric, contains a very large centrally hung chandelier sculpture consisting of metal plates decorated with fine geometric and epigraphic cuttings. Several features of the original courtyard, including the floor-set basins and mosaics have been retained. The museum holds exhibits of both modern and traditional Moroccan art, together with fine examples of historical books, coins, and pottery of Moroccan Jewish, Berber, and Arab cultures.

Dinner Recommendations:

Traditional Moroccan: Al Fassia, Dar Yacout, or Le Maison Arabe. Modern Moroccan: Le Foundouk, Gastro MK or Dar Moha.

La Mamounia Restaurant Options:
Moroccan Restaurant
Italian Restaurant
French Restaurant

Spend the night at a Luxury Hotel in Marrakech.

Breakfast at your Riad or Hotel.

Take the road to the High Atlas Mountains.

Visit the Ourika Valley’s region of Berber villages and the Setti Fatma waterfalls.

Visit the Ourika Valley’s Berber Eco-museum. The museum offers visitors the collections of Berber artifacts, an exhibition of antique photos of the High Atlas, and other artifacts of the region.

Next visit the Tomb of Tzaddik Rabbi Shlomo ben Hans is located. This tomb is the one of the well known for pilgrimage (hilulah) once a year attended by Jews of Moroccan descent from all over the world. A visit to the Tomb and the region offers a fascinating look at historic Jewish life in Morocco. Hundreds of hilulot occur each year in Morocco attracting Jews from all over the world.

During your visit to the Ourika Valley you will witness magnificent landscapes and have the opportunity to have tea with a Berber family and experience up close meetings with local Berber people.

Breakfast at La Mamounia. Take a morning tour of the La Mamounia Gardens.

Built in 1929, this famous historical landmark hotel and gardens in the center of Marrakech is cared for by 40 gardeners who twice a year plant 60,000 annuals. The gardeners provide immaculate care for the citrus and olive orchards, desert gardens, rose gardens, and tropical gardens, as well as the many fountains. The 200 year old avenue of olive trees leads one to the garden pavilion where you can soak in the peace and solitude with a cup of Moroccan mint tea. At the back of the 15 hectare gardens there is an herb and kitchen garden whose produce is used in the fresh daily menus at the hotel.

Visit Abderrazak Ben Chaabane’s Palmeraie Gardens & Museum. Abderrazak Ben Chaabane is a legend in Marrakech. Quiet and soft spoken, this renowned garden designer, ethnobotanist, perfumer, teacher, photographer, writer, garden restorer, and Publisher has created a landmark place for himself within the world of the “red hamra” city. Ben Chaabane is currently a Botany and Ecology professor at the University of Marrakech.

With its tiled steps and earthen piste walls, one can rest and contemplate in the serenity of this magical place. The cactus garden was planted 10 years ago with 40 kinds of cactus from Morocco, South Africa, USA, South America, and Mexico. All the locally grown cactus came from his mentor, a German agricultural engineer here in Morocco.

Within the converted stables and piste buildings on the property Ben Chaabane houses his private collection of unknown Moroccan artists from the 1970ʹ′s, a workshop area for children, a private collection of his own photographs and paintings, calligraphy, and sculptures along with the permanent collection of contemporary art from more than 50 Moroccan artists. One special photograph worth seeing is Le Maroc en Noir et Blanc taken in 1981 in Essaouira.

Dinner Recommendations:

La Trattoria or Peper Nero – Fine dining Italian restaurants located in a beautiful colonial house or charming Riad with gardens and an eclectic style of decoration sourced from the owner’s extensive travels. Spend the night at a Luxury Hotel in Marrakech.

Breakfast at your riad or hotel in Marrakech.

Depart for Essaouira, a seaside fishing town known for its Portuguese and Jewish history along with charming blue, white, and yellow hand-painted houses, fresh seafood, and a vibrant artist community.

Explore Essaouira, the sea-side medieval town with lovely white-washed and blue-shuttered houses is enchanting. Learn about the local tradition of thuya wood workshops, roam the art galleries, and enjoy fresh seafood. Once called Mogador by European sailors and traders, Essaouira is known for its annual Gnaoua Music Festival 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. The hiloula celebrating Rabbi Haim Pinto is held each September.

Visit the home of Rabbi Pinto, synagogues within the Mellah, and the Jewish cemeteries. 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. The synagogue is on the second floor of a three-story building inside the walls of the old city that also contained Rabbi Pinto’s home. The synagogue consists of a single large room. There are two women’s sections, one across the courtyard and one on the third floor, both with windows looking into the synagogue.

During the ’60s and ’70s, Essaouira was a pit stop on the hippie trek from Marrakech.

Have lunch at the fish grill cafes with wooden tables and benches laid out overlooking the sea.

Take a stroll along the sunlit pedestrian main square, Place Prince Moulay el Hassan, and then on to Skala du Port, the fishing harbor, offers breathtaking views of the Portuguese ramparts. Explore the ramparts, the spice and jewelry souks of the medina, and the Jewish Mellah. The medina of Essaouira is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is a well-preserved example of a late- 18th century fortified town.

After lunch visit Orson Welles’ Square and memorial, designed by Samir Mustapha, one of the towns artists, which pays homage to the filming of Othello in Essouaria.

Essaouira’s history is a reminder of the times when Spain, Portugal, and England fought to maintain control over its coasts. It has a typical Portuguese harbor that is a stunning example of Moorish and Portuguese architecture. Return to Marrakech in the early evening

Dinner Recommendations:

Your riad or hotel.

Ville Nouvelle (New City) – An evening of French Cuisine – L’Annexe, Chez Mado or Studio

Spend the night at a Luxury Hotel in Marrakech.

Breakfast at your riad.

Drive to Casablanca.

Departure from Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca.

Departure from Mohamed V Airport in Casablanca.

Cooking Class at La Maison Arabe – 4 Hours

Marrakech by Air – Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Excursion – Half-Day Program Includes: 1 Hour flight in front of the High Atlas Mountains, Souvenir flight certificate, traditional breakfast served in a tent, visit to a local Berber house, Land Rover excursion, camel ride in the Palmerie of Marrakech.

Spa Treatment Options:

Aromatic Facial Treatments

Body Exfoliating Treatments

Along the Water’s Edge Jet Bath Treatments Clarins Body Massage

Hammam Treatments: Oriental Massages Classic Massages

All Spa treatments require advance booking.

The Jewels of Jewish Heritage Tour of Morocco uncovers History, Architecture & Gardens and is for the sophisticated traveler. In the northern reaches of Africa, the 2,500 year old Moroccan Jewish community has a magnificent and little- known history and culture rooted in Africa and the Muslim world. A moderate, pro-western country, Morocco offers millennia-old lessons in peaceful co- existence between Jews and Muslims.

Included in the Jewels of Jewish Heritage Morocco itinerary are visits to historic synagogues, cemeteries, architectural sites, Berber villages and natural surroundings of the region along with options to venture to attend a Jewish service, have dinner at a Rabbi’s home and visits to majestic gardens.