Jewish Heritage Tour of Morocco
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In collaboration with Jewish Heritage Alliance Gil Travel presents a 5 Star Group Experience to Morocco.
Historically, Morocco has strived to be a place of acceptance. Several different cultures and religions have inhabited its cities and towns throughout the centuries. Today, the majority of its population is Muslim, but it is not hard to find a wide array of remnants of the country’s Jewish heritage throughout its many cities. Jews first arrived at Morocco as early as 70 CE. A second wave of migration takes place as the result of the expulsion from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492. These Jews created mellahs (Jewish Quarters), that were often found in a corner of the city fortified by Kasbah walls for protection. These mellahs became a city within a city for the Jews with their own synagogues, fountains, and markets lining narrow streets and alleyways.
This tour includes:
All ground transportation is by private bus. We provide a local national English-speaking guide. All breakfasts and dinners (vegetarian option always available) are included. Entrance fees and local taxes are included throughout. In addition to our national and local guides, the Academic Leader on this tour is Dr. Vanessa Paloma, Senior Fulbright Scholar and Artist to Morocco, an expert on Judeo-Spanish women’s songs.
Among the cities to be visited:
Rabat, Fes, Marrakech, Essaouira and Casablanca.
Cost for the all-inclusive land package including breakfast and dinner, all hotels, all tours, entrance fees and transfers:
$4,500.00 per person based on double occupancy.
Single occupancy add-on is $850.00.
Contact us for more information.
Overnight flight from your home city to Casablanca, Morocco.
Meeting services upon arrival in Casablanca and immediately transfer by bus or car to Rabat the political capital of Morocco home to the main palace of the King. This evening an orientation meeting at the hotel.
Overnight at the Sofitel Rabat Jardin des Roses Hotel
After breakfast, sightseeing in Rabat visiting the Jewish Quarter (Mellah) with its ancient synagogue. Visit to the Mausoleum of the late King Mohammed V will showcase the deep relationship between the Jews of Morocco and its Kings. Navigating the alleys of Rabat, we will also visit the famous Kasbah Des Oudaia gardens. is one of the country’s most unique sites. Originally built in the 12th century and renovated many times since throughout the centuries, it has been home to Arab tribes, Andalusian immigrants, and some of Morocco’s most powerful sultans. Walk up the steps leading to the imposing gate of Bab Oudaya and discover the winding streets of the Kasbah that will take you to Rabat’s oldest mosque, be autiful gardens, and an exquisite museum.
Continue to Meknes. Jews settled in the region of Meknes before the advent of Islam, Even in the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, there are traces of a synagogue. Until the 19th century the community of Meknes was one of the best developed and organized in Morocco. A city of Chakhamim (Rabbis) and merchants. Once known as the Jerusalem of Morocco. We will visit the local Talmud Torah & the new and ancient cemeteries. And opportunity to see the Bab Mansour Laleuj gates. Stop at the most prominent Moroccan families wine chateau (Château Roslane) for a luscious wine tasting and lunch (included). Sit at a table outdoors in a garden located in the middle of the vineyard—a truly exceptional setting— to enjoy, a food and wine pairing designed around the local produce and four premium wines. You’ll also have the privilege of visiting the historic cellar You’ll be left overwhelmed by such exquisite epicurean delights.
Time permitting, stop at the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis. During the period between 45-285 AD the city reached its peak of prosperity as the capital of the province of Mauretania Tingitania but had in actuality been in existence centuries before the first Roman proconsul arrived. From this tranquil site you can view the Holy City of Moulay Idriss – a national pilgrimage site the town holds the tomb of Moulay Idriss “el Akbar” (the Great). Proceed to Fes.
Overnight at Marriott Jnan Palace
Fes is considered Morocco’s spiritual capital & is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Founded in the 9th century, the Medina of Fes reached its height in the 13th and 14th century. It is home to many medrasas, fondouks, palaces, residences, mosques and fountains. Although the political capital of Morocco was transferred to Rabat in 1912, Fes has retained its status as the country’s cultural and spiritual center. You will experience the 17th Century Ibn Danan Synagogue inside the Mellah (the Jewish Quarter), as well as the old Jewish cemetery. Your visit will include an opportunity to connect at some of the holiest grave-sites of Great Rabbis and Holy Women of Fes. You will visit the Dar al-Makhzen – the royal palace of the Alaouite Sultan & the stunningly beautiful Bensadoun Shul. The Medina of Fes preserves numerous monumental buildings, the memory of the capital founded by the Idrisid dynasty. Considered one of the most extensive & best conserved historic towns of the Arab- Muslim world. It represents outstanding architectural &, archaeological heritage, yet also transmits a life style, skills and a culture that persists, despite evolving modern societies. A visit to the famous Tannery, factories, souks, the Rambam’s house and more.
Dinner at the Moroccan gastronomy of excellence, Palais Faraj with a panoramic view on the Medina.
Overnight at Marriott Jnan Palace
oday we have a full day drive to Marrakech with interesting stops along the way. Morning departure to Marrakech, traveling via Berber villages and towns namely Immouzer and Ifrane, a delightful ski resort also well known for its wood carvings. Welcome tea at a
local berber house. Travel through the mountains to Beni Mellal : Beni Mellal is one of the most important cities of the centre of
Morocco with rich historical background particularly from the
Ishmaelite Era (XVII Century) Beni Mellal is also and mainly the starting point to discover mountains, cascades, forests and wild life in its pure state. It offers to lovers of tourism of
adventure, the most beautiful reliefs of High and M iddle Atlas. It also has many caves and pits appraised by speleologists. Beni Mellal is mostly a destination of ecotourism and tourism of
culture. This vast garden where fields and farms dispute the space dominated by green plains, is located at the centre of Morocco.Optional Lunch at local restaurant at Beni Mellal before
reaching Marrakech late afternoon.
Overnight at Le Naoura Barrière Marrakech
After Breakfast, visit Marrakech’s rich Jewish Quarter. Start with a visit to the Mellah. Visit the 500-year-old Slat Al Azama synagogue. This is the oldest and most picturesque synagogue in
Marrakech. It is also known as the synagogue of the Dissidents. It was built in 1492 by Sephardi Jews, fleeing Spain. Stop at the Jewish Cemetery. Visit the Bahia Palace with its extraordinary
tiles, opulent courtyards and fountains built by Sultans amidst a two-acre garden. Proceed to the Saadian Tombs, with their delicate decorations and pure architectural lines are considered by
many to be a beautiful feat of architecture. They were first built to house the tombs of the Saadian Sultan, Ahmed el Mansour. Take a short ride to Marrakech’s Kasbah to visit the famous Herbalists in the Medina. There you will hear about the famous Argan oil used both for beauty and cooking. You might even wish to purchase amazing creams and potions. After lunch (time permitting), continue the city tour with souks.
Return to your hotel to prepare for Shabbat.
Take bus with your guide to Beth El Synagogue for a memorable candle lighting and services with community members. When the service ends, “home hospitality” Shabbat meal will be arranged
at one of Marrakech’s Jewish family with members of the Jewish Community (TBC). Return to your hotel by foot for overnight. (Bus will be at disposal for the people who need it)
Overnight at Le Naoura Barrière Marrakech
Enjoy a full Shabbat program in Marrakech. You will experience
Shabbat and be hosted with local families. A walking tour of
Marrakech with a visit to one of the King’s palaces. After Shabbat
we will visit the world’s famous Djemaa El Fna, featuring story
tellers, acrobats, snake-charmers and magicians. Tonight, enjoy a memorable dinner at an impressive restaurant with light entertainment & belly dancer at Palais Gharnata.
Overnight at Le Naoura Barrière Marrakech.
Today, travel to Essaouira, a seaside fishing medieval town with a Portuguese and Jewish Heritage. It is also well known for its blue boats, white painted buildings, and the Gnawa festival. On approaching the coast, you’ll enter a unique forest, the only ecosystem in the world where argan trees grow. Stop to visit an association of local women that make argan oil and keep an eye out for goats grazing on the fruits of the argan trees, high up in the tree branches.
Upon arrival in Essaouira, enjoy walking the impressive walls, discovering the delights of the medina, or relaxing by the lively fishing harbor a great place to see the fishermen returning with their catches and selling their goods. Discover the ancient jewish legacy by visiting the Jewish quarters, which was founded in the 18th century when jews comprised about 40% of the town’s population. The city had around 25 Jewish Synagogues, of which just handful exist now. Discover the freshly opened Bet Ha Knesset Simon Attias Synagogue. It features a Jewish Museum, and cultural center (Bayt Dakira) named after historian Haim Zafrani in order to preserve Morocco Jewish tradition and identity.
Enjoy an optional sea food lunch from freshly caught sea goods at a local restaurant. Continue our tour by visiting the Jewish cemetery as well. The Elder one depicts Rabi Haim Pinto’s tomb, which is the subject of an autumn Hiloul. The second 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. Explore more
of the city as you are enjoying the ever-present live music at one of the many venues around the medina.
Overnight at Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa.
Departure to Safi. Visit of the Portuguese Sea Castle, the Pottery’s hill. Continuation to Oualidia. Optional lunch in Oualidia (Seaside resort) famous with its Oyster-Farming. Afternoon we proceed to what was once a Portuguese fortification of Mazagan, now part of the city of El Jadida, 90-km southwest of Casablanca. It was built as a fortified colony on the Atlantic coast in the early 16th century and taken over by the Moroccans in 1769. The fortification with its bastions and ramparts is an early example of Renaissance military design. The surviving Portuguese buildings include the cistern and the Church of the Assumption, built in the Manueline style of late Gothic architecture. After a panoramic visit we make our way To Casablanca for overnight.
Overnight at Hyatt Regency.
Enjoy a full day city tour of Casablanca. Visit of the great Hassan II Mosque (interior) the second largest functioning mosque in Africa), a real master piece of Moroccan architecture. Situated on the edge of the Atlantic in the easternmost point of Morocco, the mosque is truly an architectural masterpiece. Designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau and has the tallest minaret at 689 feet. It can accommodate 25,000 worshippers inside, and an additional 80,000 in the courtyard perimeter. Drive along the wide boulevards, United Nations Square, the residential area of Anfa and Ain Diab. Hope you have an opportunity to meet with the power team of Jewish community in Casablanca: the president Mr Berdugo together with the beautiful children of the local Talmud Torah (School).
e visit the ONLY Jewish Museum in the Islamic world It displays collections of religious books, costumes, artifacts reflecting the role that the Jewish community has had in Morocco. & walk round Casablanca City, seeing the ‘Street of the Seven Synagogues’ & the famous Bet El Synagogue. Visit the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) with its temples and synagogues such as Beth-El, the largest synagogue and an important community center. The Jewish cemetery in the Mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. Kosher Dinner in a Jewish owned local club with some members of the Jewish community for for an interesting presentation of Morocco Jewish Heritage.
Overnight at Hyatt Regency.
Depart to airport for flight back to USA
The five star Sofitel Rabat Jardin des Roses is located close to the Royal Palace and surrounded by marvelous 7 hectares os Andalusian gardens with 3000 roses.
*Star rating standards vary from country to country.
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