MOROCCO JEWISH HERITAGE TOURS / 12 days 11 nights
DAY 1: Arrival
Once arrived, you will find our driver and guide waiting to escort you to your hotel. Casablanca is famous for many things. I wonder did you know it has 10 or more sinagogues scattered around the city. We will start by Beth-El. The stainless steel windows and the vibrant artistic expressions all over this synagogue is what attracts most of the Jewish tourists and others coming to Morocco. Depending on your flight schedule, we can also schedule a visit to two interesting temples in the city, EmHabarim and NeveChalom. Once the visits are over, we will be heading for a special dinner at an old world country club, which is a favourite of the Jewish community. At any given time you will find a group of people different ages playing cards and socializing in one of the side rooms and the rest enjoying their favourite dishes.
DAY 2: CASABLANCA – RABAT
Waking up early for breakfast and a explorational day ahead, we will discover the Moroccan Jewish heritage of the country. Our first stop is the Museum of Moroccan Judais in Casablanca where you will learn about the Jewish community in Morocco and how it began. After, we will head to the Jewish cemetery to pray for the souls who passed away in this beautiful land and then we will head to shop at the Mellah for some souvenirs and have some conversations with the locals. After a delicious Moroccan lunch, we are off to Rabat for a dinner and overnight.
DAY3: RABAT – FES (Via Meknes &Volubilis)
Waking up in Rabat, we will head first with your guide to the Almohad northern walls of the Oudaïa Kasbah where the history of this ancient Kasbah is explained. Then, we are off Meknes. We start by Morocco’s most preserved Roman town Volubilis dating back to 300B.C It is considered the oldest Moroccan city according to the excavations discovered there, and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The next stop in our expedition will be the nearby MoulayIsmael Mausoleum, the holiest site that holds a special value in the hearts of the Moroccan people. It was the place where MoulayIsmael settled after bringing the Religion of Islam from the east. Later on, we will move to Meknes, also called the “Moroccan Versailles”. It is an imperial city with a Spanish-Moorish architecture, surrounded by huge stone walls with ancient historic doors. After lunch, we move onto to the Granaries and the Royal stables, before an educational visit of the Torah Synagogue and the Jewish Quarter. We also pass by the Jewish cemetery, then we take route to the ancient city of Fes for dinner and overnight.
DAY 4: FES SIGHTSEEING
Waking up in Fes is something very special. Sip your coffe on your terrace overlooking the majestic medina walls and the Atlas Mountains. We'll visit the ancient Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University, founded by a Muslim woman. The University opened its doors in 859. Fes is surrounded with a large wall from the medieval Marinid era, vibrant souks and medina streets almost like a labyrinth. Your guide will take you to visit one of the biggest tanneries in the country still using traditional methods. The rooftop of the tanneries offer a panoramic view of the Medina and the surrounding mountains. Later we will discover the pottery factories; the souk, the square, the Nejjarine Fountain, and outdoor views of the Karaouyine Mosque in heart of the Medina. The narrow streets are busy and you’ll need to watch out for donkeys. Then, we will make our way to the Mellah, then Maimonides cemetery to learn about the famous Jews who passed away in this ancient city and how much difference they made in one of Morocco's most visited cities. After that, we will head to the Danan and Fes Synagogue to learn about the history of these sacred places.
DAY 5: FES – MERZOUGA
From Fes we depart for the desert. The journey through the mountains of the Middle Atlas passes through the most beautiful stretches of cedar and hazel trees endemic in this part of Morocco. Landscapes look very European. Ifrane, popular center for winter sports, is known as "the Switzerland of Morocco." We stop in Midelt and then proceed to Merzouga. When we reach Erfoud, the desert is upon us. But it is the immense dunes of Erg Chebbi, near the oasis of Merzouga, the highest you'll ever meet in Morocco that will impress you the most. It is the true desert, the one where the annual rainfall below 100 millimeters. This is the place where, oasis apart, nothing grows, and nothing moves, other than a fine film of sand. We'll ride by camel to our five-star desert accommodation. You will dine by a fire, and be entertained by the spectacle of a starry desert sky. Sleeping in tents is a once in a lifetime experience. Dont miss it.
DAY6: MERZOUGA – OUARZAZATE
Wake up with the nomads. After breakfast, start your day visiting Rissani, the old Sijilmassa,the economic capital of Morocco where the caravans used to depart through the desert and where it still holds a market known in particular for the sale of medicines, donkeys and Berber rugs. Here, you also find many traditional kasbahs and typical Moroccan buildings. For lunch, you will experience the hospitality of the locals. A Tuareg family opens their doors of their modest home for us to taste the famous Berber pizza with its 44 spices. Soon after, we will head back to Rissani, this time from a different direction, passing through the village of N'Kob and the valley of the Draa. We will then make a stop for tea and a visit to Agdez. After your tea break, we head in the direction of Ouarzazate for dinner and overnight.
DAY 7: OUARZAZATE - MARRAKECH
After breakfast, we go to the Kasbah of Taourirt and the Atlas Studios, the largest and most famous film studios in all of Africa. From here, you can stop at the oasis of Fint, a few kilometres from Ouarzazate. We then continue on the road of Tizin'Tichka, the highest point crossing the High Atlas, stopping for lunch in a small village. We'll pass through the Valley of the Roses before arriving back to Marrakech for a dinner and overnight.
DAY7: MARRAKECH MONUMENTS
Today, we explore the mysteries of this much-loved city starting at the Bahia Palace, known for its incredible gardens, built in the 19th century as one of the greatest palaces of its time from which derives the name Bahia, meaning brilliance. We will continue our time travel through the Medina walls in the direction of the highest building in Marrakech. The history of the Koutoubia Mosque, known as the mosque of the booksellers, will be explained to you by our entertaining guide. Next we head to the Ben Youssef Madrassa Koranic School, named after the Almoravid Sultan who made Marrakech a well-known place, worldwide. This school is the largest Madrassa in Morocco. Once done, we visit the Jewish Mellah to shop for the best leather and pottery Morocco can offer. Later we head for tea at sunset to enjoy the golden views of the Jamaa El Fna Square.
DAY 8: MARRAKECH GARDENS:
Today stroll the streets of Marrakech or travel like a king and queen in your horse carriage around the city and visit the famous Majorelle Gardens known internationally. Walk around the vast collection of cactus set against a backdrop of blue and visit the newly opened museum to discover the Berber heritage. Once done, head for the Menara Gardens and enjoy a first class lunch overlooking Marrakech. Head back to your hotel for a 5-star dinner and overnight.
Wake up at your pace and enjoy the Marrakech sun. After breakfast, we will head west in the direction of Essaouira. This port city is protected by an 18th century wall named the Skala of the Kasbah and old brass cannons line the walls, designer by the Portuguese and other European engineers to show the marvel of the Atlantic ocean. If wind surfing is your thing, Essaouira is known all over the world and holds international surfing competitions.
Many of Essaouira’s homes still have the star of David above the doorways of Jewsih 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 in the 1845. The Hiloula celebrating Rabbi Pinto is held each September. A generation ago there were Jewish Inhabitants in Essaouira, however today there is just one known family left called the Jacky Kadoch family and other descendants of other Jewish families who come seasonaly. Jacky Kadoch is the president of the Essaouira Jewish community.
DAY 10: MARRAKECH: Rest today and enjoy the souks at your pace. It’s been a long journey across some of the most visited areas of our beautiful land. Why not head to a Moroccan Hammam spa and get scrubbed with Moroccan oils and relax for a candle lit dinner at your hotel.
DAY 10: Departure
Seems like your holiday is over and we definitely will expect you again for another tour of our beautiful Morocco. Depending on your flight, we will escort you to the airport on time and wish you a safe flight back home.
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