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Jewels of Jewish Heritage / 7 Days
History, Architecture & Gardens

Jewels of Jewish Heritage Tour

Jewels of Jewish Heritage / 7 Days

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

Included in the Jewels of Jewish Heritage Morocco itinerary are visits to historic synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, and Jewish archaeological sites of the region along with options to attend a Jewish services.

Discover the traditions of Jewish Heritage in Morocco and explore spectacular gardens on this private 7 Day/6 Night tour.


  • Arrival at Marrakesh’s Menara Airport on Time & Flight # TBD.
  • Transfer to Riad or Hotel. Tea & Pastries or Evening drinks.
  • Dinner Recommendations: Traditional Moroccan: Dar Yacout or Le Tobsil, Le Maison Arabe Moroccan Modern With a Flair: Le Fondouk or Dar Moha. La Mamounia Restaurant Options: – Moroccan Restaurant – Italian Restaurant – French Restaurant
  • Spend the night at 5 Star Riad or Hotel in in Marrakesh.
  • Breakfast at your Hotel. Begin your Marrakesh Historical Tour.
  • The Majorelle Gardens & Berber Museum – The Majorelle Garden, 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 and the place where Alfred Hitchcock wrote, “The Birds.” Jacques Majorelle studied at the École des Beaux- Arts in Nancy in 1901 and later in 1919 he went to Marrakesh, Morocco to recover from heart problems. He built the garden during those years using special color of blue which he used extensively in the garden that is named after him, Majorelle Blue. Jacques Majorelle returned to France in 1962 after a car incident and died later that year of complications from his injuries. As a collector of unique plants from five continents Jacque Majorelle left to Saint Laurent one of the more unique collections of flore 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.
  • 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 Marrakesh. At the time of the Spanish religious wars, Jewish refugees were escaping the country, and were offered this little piece of security by the Sultan.
  • Visit the El Bahia Palace. The El Bahia Palace in Marrakesh 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.
  • Visit the Marrakesh Synagogue in the old medina there along with the current Rabbi who is an albino. 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 Marrakesh, and 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 Marrakesh date from the time of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur. The tombs were only recently discovered in 1917 and were 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.
  • Visit The Museum of Marrakesh- 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 and intricate tilework and carvings. The museum’s large atrium (originally a courtyard, now covered in glass and fabric) contains a very large centrally hung chandelier-esque ceiling piece 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: Dar Yacout or Le Tobsil, Le Maison Arabe Moroccan Modern With a Flair: Le Fondouk or Dar Moha. La Mamounia: Moroccan, French or Italian
  • Spend the night at 5 Star Riad or Hotel in Marrakesh.
  • Breakfast at La Mamounia. Morning tour of the Gardens.
  • La Mamounia Gardens: Built in 1929 this famous historical landmark hotel and gardens in the center of Marrakesh is cared for by 40 gardeners who two times a year plant 60,000 annuals to enhance the grounds as well as maintain the immaculately mowed grass under the citrus and olive orchards, desert garden, rose garden and tropical garden 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 hectares gardens there is an herb and kitchen garden whose produce is used in the fresh daily menus. Along one side of the garden there are six meter high bougainvillea walls which when in bloom are breathtaking. Abderrazzak Benchaabane’s Palmeraie Gardens & Museum:
  • Abderrazzak Benchaabane is a Marrakesh legend. 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. Benchaabane is currently a Botany and Ecology professor at the University of Marrakesh.
  • Abderrazzak Benchaabane’s Andalusian Garden & Cactus Garden Visit. @ith its tiled steps and the Sahara area with its earthen piste wall calls one to come, rest and contemplate 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 engineer of Agriculture here in Morocco.
  • Within the converted stables and piste buildings on the property Benchaabane houses his private collecxation “unknown” Moroccan artists from the 1970ʹ′s, a workshop area for children, a private collection of his own photographs, paintings, photographs, 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 Le Trattoria – This up-market Italian restaurant is located in a very fine colonial house with gardens, who eclectic style of decoration is the result of owner’s extensive travels.
  • Spend the night at 5 Star Riad or Hotel in Marrakesh.
Driving Time: 6 1/2 Hours
  • Breakfast at La Mamounia Hotel.
  • Take the road to Fes.
  • 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 it’s architecture, cedar forrest and winter ski resort options. Developed by the French during the protectorate era for their administration due to its Alpine climate, this Morrocan 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Arrive in Fes in the early evening.
  • Dinner Recommendations: Riad Fes – Elegant and Modern Moroccan Cuisine. La Maison Blanche – An 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, courses with a twist, Andalusian music, all set within a Riad with views of the sky and the old medina.
  • Spend the night at 5 Star Riad or Hotel in Fes.
  • Breakfast at Riad Fes. Visit Jewish & Muslim Historic Sites in Fes:
  • History of Fes: Jewish Sites in Fes Fes is among the best known cities in medieval Jewish history. Indeed, it was one the home of one of the most influential Talmudic scholars of all times, Rabbi Isaac Alfasi, as well as of Maimonides in the years 1160 to 1165. Fes was founded by Idriss I in the eighth 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 and Idriss surrounded the left bank with walls. 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 inaugurated a prolonged period of prosperity that would peak in the 14th century under the reign of the Merinides Dynasty.
  • 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 Cemetary: The nearby 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. This woman 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.
  • Maimonide: 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 restaurant sometimes has available mahia, or home-made l’eau de vie, the anise-flavored alcoholic drink for which Moroccan Jews are well-known.
  • The Danan Synagogue: The Danan synagogue was once only one of several inside the walls of Fes, and not the most elaborate. It is entered through a simple doorway indistinguishable from the doors of nearby houses. The door leads immediately to a short flight of stairs that lead 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 wainscotted with 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. It 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 form the raised area. The wooden bimah is topped by a wrought iron canopy of Islamic-style arches and floral forms, culminating in a crown. 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 (Jewish quarter), is a rare survivor of a pivotal time in Moroccan Jewish history.
  • Synagogues of Fes: A Mellah That Once Had 40 Synagogues 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. Nearby the community center is Roben Ben Sadoun Synagogue. Built in the 1920’s, it is decorated with exquisite plaster carving reminiscent of the decoration of traditional mosques and medersas. It is large by the standards of Morocco, where every rich Jewish family desired its own synagogue. The Center was created in the early 1980’s in a building housing a Talmud Torah synagogue and school. Also in the old city is the mausoleum of Moulay Idriss II, the founder of Fes in the ninth century. His father, Idriss I, fought the Jews to establish the first Muslim State in Morocco. Idriss II, however, encouraged the Jews to move to Fes, so the could benefit from their skills and finances.
  • Old Medina Muslim Sites & Shopping in Fes:
  • 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.
  • Zaouia Moulay Idriss II: A zaouia (shrine) dedicated to and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fès for the second time in 810.
  • Dar Batha: A Hispano-Moorish palace dating from the end of the 19th century that houses admirable collections of traditional art from Fès
  • Lunch in Fes at a Restored Palace.
  • Carpet Demonstration: Antique and Modern Carpets is one of the places in Fès el Bali where you can see a Berber carpet demonstration. You will be offered mint tea and follow your guide up a coil of stairs to a small area to watch carpets being made by young girls who come from the mountains to show tourists how Berber carpets are made.
  • Weavers Cooperative: We will also visit the Weavers Cooperative located in a residential neighborhood off a main shopping street. 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 locally spun, textured wool thread called hubba -sometimes referred to as couscous, because it’s nubby texture resembles Morocco’s national semolina dish of the same name.
  • Dinner Recommendations: Riad Fes – Elegant and Modern Moroccan Cuisine. La Maison Blanche – An 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, courses with a twist, Andalusian music, all set within a Riad with views of the sky and the old medina.
  • Spend the night at 5 Star Riad or Hotel in Fes.
  • Breakfast at Riad Fes. Visit Fes most famous gardens, spa time at your Riad, Sidi Harazam or Moulay Yacoub Thermal Spa.
  • Breakfast at your Riad or Hotel in Fes. Visit Sofitel Palais Jamai Garden for Morning Tea. Sofitel Palais Jamai’s Garden is one of the oldest Andalusian Gardens in Fes and Morocco. Visit Jnane Sbil Gardens:
  • Jnane Sbil Gardens were originally created by the Sultan Moulay Abdallah. Jnane Sbil encompasses 7.5 hectares and is located in the heart of city. It 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 and after four years of detailed restoration and renovation of the heirloom plants, the hydraulic systems and the famous waterwheel, the project was completed and re-opened in June 2010. Batha Museum & Andalusian Garden
  • 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 the Gate of the Bab Boujloud in Fes.
  • The Bou Inania Madrasa – 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 interior history courtyard and views.
  • Spend the night at 5 Star Riad or Hotel in Fes.
  • Marrakesh Jewish Mellah & Cemetery
  • Marrakesh Jewish Synagogue
  • Majorelle Gardens, Abderrazzak Cactus Gardens, Bahia Palace, Mosque of Koutoubia, Marrakesh
  • Ibn Danon Synagogue, Jewish Mellah, Jewish Cemetery & Tomb of Solica, Maimonides, Fes
  • Bounania Medersa, Kaourine Mosque, Fes
  • Pottery & Zellij Cooperative, Weaving Cooperative, Shopping in the Old City of Fes Jewish Seffrou, Fes Region
  • Hassan Tower, Kasbah Oudaia & Gardens, Rabat Temple Beth- El, Casablanca