moroccan jewish odyssey

Moroccan Jewish Odyssey

Tours

Moroccan Jewish Odyssey

Name of Tour: Moroccan Jewish Odyssey
Duration: An 11-Day Moroccan Jewish Odyssey TourExpect dramatic contrasts as you encounter Morocco's Jewish Heritage sites in the Imperial Cities and magnficient landscapes as you cross the High Atlas region. This once-in-a- lifetime comprehensive Jewish Cultural Tour will take you on a journey to unexpectd places. Explore sacred Jewish sites in Medieval ciites, hear Stories of the Mellah, Discover the Roman Ruins of Volubilis and an endless Sahara Desert. On this Moroccan Jewish Odyssey Tour you will visit colorful souks, Kasbahs and ksars and Sip Tea with a Berber family who has historic Jewish roots. Travel Exploation's Guided Jewish tours offer an insiders experience for travelers to engage with the local Jewish community, experience the remarkable and traverse the country from the mountains to sea coast. 
Morocco Travel: In Viano / Luxury 4x4
English, Arabic, French Speaking Driver, Local, Expert Jewish Heritage Guides
Starting & Finishing Point: Casablanca
Travel to Morocco & Discover Remarkable Jewish Heritage sites on a private, customized tour.  
Book a Jewish Heritage Tour or call (800) 787-8806.  Let us be your guide to Private Morocco Travel.
Morocco is the ideal destination for a Jewish Heritage Tour. With it’s historic Jewish community that once permeated all Moroccan life, each city boasts magnficient synagogues, ancient cemeteries and a Jewish Mellah where extraordinary traditions remain. Travel Exploration’s Moroccan Jewish Odyssey Tour is suitable for adults and families. Each Jewish Tour we offer can be customized to your level of interests in Moroccan Jewery. 
MOROCCAN JEWISH ODYSSEY TOUR - TRIP HIGHLIGHTS 
► Visit Temple Beth- El Synagogue & Explore Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca
► Discover the Jewish Mellah of Rabat & birthplace of an 18thCentury scholar and Kabbalist in Sale  
► Attend Shabbat Services a in Fes
► Dinner at a Rabbi’s Home or Kosher Restaurant
► Witness a private exterior view of the former home of Maimonidies in Fes
► Afternoon Excursion to Seffrou once referred to as the “Little Jerusalem”
► Up Close Meeting with Local Jewish Community in Morocco
► Historic Sites of Jewish Heritage in Fes, Meknes, Seffrou and Marrakech
► Overnight in the Sahara Desert under the Morocan Stars
► Discover the province of Tinerhir and it’s rare Jewish past
► Visit Tiliit the 15th Century ancient city of Jews in the Dades Valley region 
► Explore Coastal Essaouira, an artist enclave and one of the first Jewish Ports in Morocco 
► Visit the Tomb of Rabbi Shlomo & the Setti Fatima 7 Waterfalls in the Ourika Valley
► Stays at the Best Boutique Riads and Hotels in Morocco
TOUR ITINERARY:
Day 1: Casablanca Arrival, Visit the Hassan II Mosque & Guided Jewish Heritage Tour of Casablanca, then Take the road to Rabat
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.
Next explore Casablanca's Historic Synagogues, Temple Beth-El, Temple Em Habanim and Temple Neve Shalom. Casablanca is home historically to over 17 Synagogues.
Discover one of Casablanca's most popular synagogues Temple Beth-El. Beth-El, is considered the centerpiece of a once vibrant Jewish community. Its stained glass windows in the style of Marc Chagall and other artistic elements, is what attracts travelers to this synagogue. Sunlight, tinted by stained glass, bounces off a gigantic crystal chandelier at Temple Beth-El creating thousands of shimmering rainbow mosaics on every surface. The ark, the most important thing in the synagogue, houses the Hebrew scrolls and these are dressed in exquisitely embroidered velvet mantles. The walls are inscribed with gilded quotes from the Bible and the ceiling is equally decorative. 
Explore the Jewish Mellah with its historic synaogues such as Temple Bet-El, Em Habanim and Temple Neve Shalom. Enter Temple Em Habanim and the magnificently restore Temple Neve Chalom which has a small, intimate gallery featuring synagogue lamps and photographs. 
Visit the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in CasablancaThe 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.
Explore Casablanca’s Jewish Mellah and  Jewish Cemetery
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.
Overnight in a Boutique Hotel in Rabat.
Day 2: Rabat Guided Jewish Heritage and Cultural Tour, then Explore Jewish Meknes & Roman Volubilis en route to Fes 
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.
Discover the Jewish Mellah of Rabat and it’s narrow streets which were once the home of many Jewish families. Continue to Sale, the birthplace of Rabbi Hayyim Ben Moses Attar, the renowned 18thCentury scholar and Kabbalist. He was respected throughout the Jewish world for his torah commentary referred to as the “hahayyim. Explore his grae site.
Next take the the road to for a Guided Jewish Heritage Tour of Imperial City of Meknes, "the Moroccan Versailles" and the Roman Ruins of Volubilis "Walili."
Start out 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. 
Visit the Jewish Quarter on arrival in Meknes. Explore the Jewish Mellah, 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. 
Continue 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 Boutique Hotel or Riad in Fes.
Day 3: Fes Guided Jewish Heritage Tour & Exploration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites 
Jewish History of Fes & Historic Fes El Bali's
Fes (referred to as Fes El Bali) is among the best known cities in medieval Jewish history. It was once the home of one 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 MellahIn 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 , Dar Batha, Weavers Cooperative 
Overnight in a Boutique Hotel in Fes.
Day 4: 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 SefrouIn 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 5: Fes - Ifrane and the Cedar Forrest, Azro - Middle Atlas - Rissani Merzouga Sahara Desert (Driving Time: 8 1/2 Hours)  
A Journey through the Middle Atlas to the Sahara Desert, Passing Ifrane, known as “Little Switzerland,” Midelt, Erfoud (the Capital of Fossils), and Rissani, Arriving in Merzouga for a Sunset Guided Camel Trek and Arabian Nights in the Great Sahara Desert. Take the road to Merzouga. Enroute to Merzouga, we will pass Ifrane, stopping to see the cedar tree forest and the local barbary monkeys. We will also pass the American- Moroccan University which was built by the Saudis. 
Visit the Musicians of Khemlia in Merzouga, a century-old Gnaoua group that performs ancient trance music. Tea and nuts will be served (if time allows on this day or the following day). Arrive in Merzouga before sunset and then go by dromedary camel 45-60 minutes, at sunset, into the Erg Chebbi Dunes to camp overnight in our luxury biouvac tent at an oasis. 
Overnight in a LuxuryDesertCamp in Merzouga.
Day 6: Merzouga Desert Exploration - Lunch in Ait Ouzzine Berber Village - Skoura (Driving Time: 3 1/2 Hours)
Sahara Desert Visit and then Departure from the Region to the Saghro Mountains for Lunch in a Berber Village Enroute to Skoura
Walk the desert dunes and explore on your own in and around Merzouga. Take the road to se Merzouga’s Sahara by piste. Enjoy the flora and fauna that is unique to the Sahara. Then visit the Saharan Desert towns of Rissani and the capital of fossils, Erfoud.
Visit the old ksars and then continue the road to the village of Ait Ouzzine, located in N’kob, which is nestled within the Middle Atlas Mountains. Aït Ouzzine is a Berber villageinhabited by over 300 families who live in beautifully painted crenulated kasbahs, with their own henna fields, water wells, livestock, and gardens. This peaceful village is tucked away along an impressive desert route connecting the Draa Valley (Tansikht) and Rissani.
Meet a local Berber family, sip tea in the Sagro Mountains, and dine on couscous. Then explore and tour the village by foot. Walk in the green fields and see how the traditional Berbers live with their gardens of herbs, livestock, and henna plants. 
After lunch, you can have your hands and feet painted with hennaor your hair adorned with saffron by a local village artist and relax. Experience the tradition of Berber perfume made from musk and amber along with the villages own spices. End the afternoon in Ait Ouzzine with mint tea and almonds. 
Drive through the Draa Valley back to Ouarzazate or the Skoura Palmeraie before sunset. The Draa Valley is the road of the old caravans that once traveled to transport dates and other goods from the Draa Region to Marrakech. 
Overnight at a BoutiqueRiadinSkoura.
Day 7: Skoura - Excursion to the Valley of Roses and the Ancient Jewish City of Tillit in the Boumalne Dades Valley Region (Driving Time: 4 hours)
Visit Skoura and its “Valley of One Thousand Kasbahs.” Skoura is a fertile oasis lined with immense palm groves that provide great views of the Atlas Mountains alongside desert landscapes. It is renowned for the cultivation of roses. 
Continue towards the perfumed Valley of Roses, just north of El Kelaa Des Mgouna. On the way to the Valley of Roses, your driver will stop for you to view the Capp et Florale distillation factories laid out in the small kasbah town that manufacture the entire nation’s production of eau de rose. The rose water and other products such as hand and body soaps, oil, cream, perfume, and dried flowers are for sale and also popular among Moroccans. 
Your journey will then take you through the Dades Valley which covers 125 km between Ouarzazateand Boumalne du Dadès in the High Atlas Mountains. Once you reach Boumalne, at first sight you notice the limestone cliffs with uniquely shaped erosions and superb scenery and the valley’s pise (windy roads
Visit the historic fortress city of Tiliit near El Kellat El Mgouna, referred to as the Valley of Roses. Tiliit is the ancient city of the Jews in this region rich with unique flora and fauna surrounded by the grand Dades Valley. The Jewish city of Tiliit was once ruled by the Perez family from the end of the 15thcentury until the regin of Moulay Ismail ins 1672. 
Overnight at a Boutique Riad in Skoura.
Day 8: Marrakech Guides Historical Tour, City Visit, Yves Saint Laurent Gardens & Berber Museum, UNESCO Sites & Jewish Heritage Sites  
Visit Marrakech’s Gardens, Palaces, and Jewish Heritage Sites.
The Yves Saint Laurent Majorelle Gardens & Berber Museum
Visit the Majorelle Gardens. 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, the son opened his gardens to the public and, during this time, also painted a magnificent ceiling at La Mamounia, a five-star hotel with exquisite gardens and the place where Alfred Hitchcock wrote The Birds. Jacques Majorelle studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Nancy in 1901 and in 1919 went to Marrakech to recover from heart problems. He built the garden during those years, using a special blue color that he used extensively in the garden and that is named after him, Majorelle blue. Majorelle returned to France in 1962 after a car incident and died later that year of complications from his injuries.
Berber Museum in Marrakech. Formerly known as the Islamic Museum of Art, this new museum was renamed and launched with proper historical provenance to honor the Berber people and their traditions. As the Berbers are the original inhabitants of Morocco and were driven in the mountains in the 7th Century by Arabs from Yemen, having as much of their history and costume on display pays a long standing homage essential to those discovering Moroccan history. With over 600 objects in the Berber Museum ranging from the Rif to the Sahara this offers vistors a compelling panorama on Berber culture. The renovation of the Berber Museum was carried out by Christophe Martin with musicologist, Bjorn Dahlstrom.  
Yves Saint Laurent Museum: A museum entirely devoted to the work of the legendary fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent. The museum is situated on Rue Yves Saint Laurent and adjacent to the renowned Jardin Majorelle, spans over 4,000 m² and is more than just a museum. Designed by Studio KO, it features a 400 m² permanent exhibition space where the work of Yves Saint Laurent is presented in a scenography by Christophe Martin. The museum has a boutique, bookshop, a café-restaurant, as well as a research library comprising 5,000 volumes.
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 theMarrakech 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.
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. 
Sunset Cocktails at La Mamounia Gardens where Alfredy Hitchcock wrote "The Birds" Built in 1929 this famous historical landmark hotel and gardens in the center of Marrakech 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.  
Day 9: Excursion to Coastal Essaouira for a Guided Jewish Heritage Tour
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. Locals call this magical coastal enclave "Souira"
En route you will visitt an Argan Cooperative where you a witness women cultivating the Argan nut to make Argan oil, Argan butter, and cosmetic products. The cooperative is run by women. You will enjoy a complimentary tating of Argan oil and Argan nut butter, all hand made and originating from the region of Essaouira. 
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 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 who passed on in 1845. The hiloula celebrating Rabbi Haim Pinto is held each September.
On your Guided Jewish Heritage Tour of Essaouira you will explore the crumbling Jewish Quarter which was established in the eighteenth century by Alaouite Sultan Sidi Mohamed ben Abdellah within the sixteenth century fortress. As Essaouira became a trading prot a Jewish Quarter called the Mellah was created. At that time Jews made up 40% of the city's population. The town once had over 30 Jewish Synagogues of which few remain today. 
Essaouira's last Jews left to France and Canada following the Six Day War in 1967. The Jews who remain today in Essaouira are those buried in its two cemeteries  The Jewish Mellah and its citzens played an essential role in Essaouira's economic development as Jews did in all Moroccan cities.
Essaouira's Jewish Synagogues & Cemeteries: Discover Essaouira's Jewish synagogues, cemteries, the Mellah and also have the opportuity to enjoy a tea with Joseph Sebag, one of the last remaining Jews who is the leader of the community. 
Visit the recently renovated and newly inaugurated Essaouira Bet Ha-Knesset Simon Attias Simon Attias Synagogue. Simon Attias was built in 1882 on Rue Laalouj in the Kasbah, just beside the former British consulate. The synagogue was originally located on the second floor. The ground floor once held shops. The third floor contained the offices of Jewish courts, which heard both commercial and personal cases. The interior of the synagogue is ordained with its originally preserved wood work which was carved in London. The large, wooden Torah Ark featured columns and a rounded pediment, and is decorated with floral carvings. Today the Simon Attias synagogue is two-stories high, with large, rounded-arch windows with a Jewish Museum and a future cultural center. Once complete the Jewish Cultural Center will bear the name of the contemporary historian Haim Zafrani, originating from the city, guaranteeing the preservation of Moroccan Jewish heritage and helping to strengthen the national identity of the country.
Next visit Rabbi Haim Pinto's former home and the synagogue in the Jewish Mellah which has been preserved as a historic and religious site. The building is an active synagogue, used when pilgrims or Jewish tour groups visit the city.
While a generation ago there were Jewish inhabitants in Essaouira today there is just one left named Joseph Sebag. Sebag's family has been in Morocco since they fled Spain during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Sebag owns a small antique and brick-a-back store where one can always find Jewish and non Jewish visitors enjoying a cup of mint tea along a conversation with Jospeh. 
Today, there are a number of Jewish other Jewish sites which can be visited and/or are under renovation in Essaouira. Essaouira’s two Jewish cemeteries are open to visitors by calling the number of the guardian posted on the door. The older of the two is only separated from the sea by a wall and is regularly inundated. It features the mausoleum of Rabbi Haim Pinto (1748–1845), which is the subject of a hilloul a(pilgrimage) every Fall. The graves are often laid on top of each other and the inscriptions are no longer legible. All that remains are circular or triangular symbols indicating whether the occupant was male or female.
The ‘new’ Jewish cemetery, across the street, was opened in the 18th century to accommodate the growing population. It is the final resting place of a number of rabbis, intellectuals and musicians as well as many of the ‘ordinary’ residents of Essaouira-Mogador. The cemetery tells the stories of many great families of Mogador such as the Corcos, the most famous of the original ‘Sultan’s merchants’ and the Yuly and Levy families – some of whom are certainly ancestors of the first Jewish US senator, David Levy Yulee.

Overnight in Marrakech.
Day 10: Excursion to the Ourika Valley's Berber Villages, a Jewish Mill & Nectarome Medicinal & Herbal Gardens
Excursion to the Ourika Valley, a region known for it's Berber Villages, local souks and most sought after by Marrakech's durign summer months where many picnic under it's trickling streams. The forty mile drive will be filled with gardens, land cultivated by palm tree plantations and fruit trees, tiny hamlets, summer homes, and cafes and restaurants where it is possible to have lunch in a traditional auberge or if you prefer something more key, a picnic facing the snow capped mountain and overlooking the Ourika River
The Ourika Valley was once home to a Berber Jewish population. In the 1950s, the Ourika Valley, was home to approximately 300 Jewish families, two synagogues, and several Jewish schools. Many members of the local community would make pilgrimages (“hilulot”) to the tombs of righteous men and women, to celebrate holidays and to invoke their memory as intermediaries to God.
There is a legend called the “Son of the Snake” which is known among many Jews in Morocco. The legend originates from the story about an Israeli Rabbi named Shlomo who came to Morocco, from Israel, crossing North Africa by mule. Rabbi Shlomo apparently died and ended up buried on the edge of a mountain outside a Jewish cemetery in the Ourika Valley. For Jewish travelers interested in keeping the legend alive, they can visit the tomb of Rabbi Shlomo which was once reached only by an donkey through the valley. Today, Rabbi Shlomo’s tomb can be visited by vehicle. In the 1970’s Jewish donors built and elegant, marble tombstone to mark this site which was later additionally funded by the creation of a tomb complex inclusive of guest rooms. Many refer to it as the Zaouia of Rabbi Shlomo as the newly built pink tomb can now be found with an exterior sign in Hebrew along the mountain side.
Next enjoy a Guided Tour of the Nectarome Medicinal and Herbal Gardens. This garden offers a wide range of activities that you can partake in from traditional breadmaking to Spa services and hearty meals. Nectarome specializes in the field of phyto aromatherapy and the distillation of aromatic plants that grow naturally in the wild or are organically cultivated. In the one hectare organic garden at the foot of the High Atlas Mountains in the Ourika Valley they grow more than 50 aromatic and medicinal plants for research, development and educational purposes. Based on Moroccan traditional medicine they off a wide line of wellness products made with pure and natural essential oils with all products made on the premises. With several areas to relax in the garden you can take in the fragrance of the many herbs or taste them in the traditional recipes prepared on site.
For travvelers intersted in Saffron and the harvesting of this delicate purple flower, a visit with tea at the local Saffron Farm can be offered. 
Moving through the valley you will visit Setti Fatma Waterfalls, a favorite weekend resort of many Marrakshis that is appreciated for its beautiful streams and seven waterfalls. Travelers can trek along some of the pretty trails in Ouriuka and depedning on the season see meadowsdaffodils, romulea and other unique flora of the region.  
Day 11: Departure to Casablanca or Marrakech's Menara Airport
Departure from your riad to meet your flight
 
Morocco Travel | Marrackech Travel | Ouarzazate Travel | Casablanca Travel | Customized Morocco Tour | Imperial Cities Tour | Absolute Morocco Tour
Sahara Desert Tour | Ouarzazate Kasbahs & Berber Village Tour
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