Taourirt’s Old Synagogue

A fantastic discovery

Just in the center of the interconnected streets of the old Medina, another piece of evidence of the coexistence between Jews and Muslims in the Kingdom of Morocco stands. It is the old Synagogue of the Jewish Mellah in Taourirt. It was a place of worship that has been transformed into a museum of Jewish-Amazigh history.

A fantastic discovery

The old synagogue dates back over 400 years. It is located in the heart of the Mellah. It is recognized by the Hebrew symbols that surround it. The small door that leads to its interior appears to be narrow. However, once inside you will find a grand room, both in terms of size and the secrets are hidden within.

The building is composed of a study classroom and several other rooms. They are spread throughout many levels. After the closure of the place of worship, they were transformed into exhibition rooms, each of which illustrates a day in the life of an Amazigh Jewish family. The old synagogue has been beautifully preserved due to the excellent work of the family that looks after it and allows all those who want to explore this cultural and religious symbol full of historical testimonies to do so.

A cultural journey in time

The old Synagogue serves as a cultural and historical resource. It has a range of authentic items from the Jewish worship and everyday life that have been preserved in their original form. More than just a museum, the site allows tourists to travel back in time and learn about the common history of the region’s Jewish and Amazigh people, who coexisted with Muslims for centuries.

Ayoub, the son of the family that has maintained the Synagogue for generations, leads the tour. The young friendly man will direct you to discover the secrets and wonders of the place, and will tell you amazing stories, illustrated by uncovered objects and unique collections of old pictures.

The journey ends in front of the Kasbah with a cup of tea on the building’s terrace.

Access and visit to the synagogue are free. Still, it is strongly advised to make a donation to help the project and the work done to ensure the preservation of Jewish culture in the region.

A great tailor-made weekendCulteFamilyHeritageIn one dayMuseum

Useful information

Did you know?

Judaism has been present in Morocco since the 2nd century BC. Several Jewish families settled in North Africa during the Phoenician expansion, according to Agnès Bensimon. They have fit in well with the locals, and their respective cultures merged to form the Judio-Amazigh community. During the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula between 1391 and 1492, the Jewish community was reinforced centuries later by the expulsion of Jews escaping persecution.

Morocco had about 204,000 Moroccans of Jewish faith at the beginning of the twentieth century. Ouarzazate had seven Mellahs included in the region’s Ksours and Kasbah. These neighborhoods were home to 76 families who mostly worked in trades and crafts.

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