Posts Tagged ‘Fes Tours’

History & Stories of the Fes Jewish Mellah, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Monday, October 17th, 2016
Fes Medina View, Jewish Mellah

Fes Medina View, Jewish Mellah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The city of Fes, Morocco is a historic landmark and must see for those interested in Moroccan Jewish Heritage. On a guided Jewish Heritage Tour of Fes the magnetic culture of Moroccan Jewery will be revealed through the eyes of a local expert. Fes is the oldest contiguous free, working medina in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The history of Moroccan Jewery of Fes is fascinating and engaging. Stories of the Fes Jewish Mellah are those of co-existance, culture, love and prosperity along with alienation which was followed by a severe population decline once Israel became a state.

On a guided Jewish Heritage Tour of Fes you will learn about the roots of Moroccan Jews and how a population that once reached 300,000 + gradually disappeared. You will go beyond what is written in guidebooks and history books to hear an insiders perspective about co-existence between Moroccan Arabs and Moroccan Jews, that once described the livelyhood of Jewish Fes pre and post World War II.

Ibn Danan Synagogue, Jewish Fes

Ibn Danan Synagogue, Jewish Fes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As recent as the 1940’s there were still over 200,000 Jews in Morocco with the majority of the population residing in Fes. The Moroccan city of Fes lays claim to once having the largest Jewish community in the entire Muslim world however fewer then 2500 remain in the country today. Those few are primarily living within a close knit community with their extended family in the Imperial city of Casablanca. Casablanca’s Jewish community and culture remains small yet vibrant. The city of Casablanca has several working synagogues, a community center, kosher butchers, kosher restaurants and is home to the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, lauded for being the only Jewish museum in the Muslim world today.

The historic presence of Jewish Morocco runs through the veins of the country. The former Jewish population built synagogues, cemeteries, shrines and created prosperity and wealth within the Mellahs. The Jews of Fes were leaders in trade, the garment business, experts in agriculture and jewelry designers. Moroccan Jews for example were the creators of the ancient tradition of filagree jewelry made using gold and silver. This particular Moroccan tradition uses metalwork made with tiny threads that are twised together to form intricate and beautiful designs. Filagree jewelry often featured the Star of David, chamsas and other ornate symbols.

Although the Jews of Fes were confined to living in the walled Mellah it was done so for their protection and to the benefit of both royalty and the government. The Jewish Mellah of Fes and the mellahs in other Moroccan cities were located close to the Royal palace and the governor’s residence. Many Jews were consultants for the King and also the government, making their level of contribution and importance to Moroccan culture and society exceptional.

Jewish Cemetery, Fes Medina

Jewish Cemetery, Fes Medina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the exodus of Moroccan Jews when Israel became a state, many in Morocco claim the economy changed drastically as they took with them a great skillset, once shared with their Muslim breathren. While the Jews left land, shrines, cuisine traditions and businesses, among other riches, the Moroccan economy never recovered from the particular labor trends that helped maintain and enrich the country that were associated with the Jewish community.

In the North of Morocco, the city of of Tangier and the blue washed mountain town of Chefchaouen, once had a prominent community of Spanish Jews that resided there. Jews emigranted to Morocco during the Inquisition. Today there there are Moroccan, Jewish Heritage Sites in Casablanca, Marrakech, Zaogra, the Skoura palmeraie, Coastal Essaouira, the Ourika Valley and Ourigane National Park.

Most prominent though is the impact the Jewish community made within the social character of Fes.

Maimonides, Jewish Fes

Maimonides, Jewish Fes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FES JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR – MOROCCO PRIVATE TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
Visit Ibn Danan Synagogue, a 17th Century Jewish landmark, Talmud Torah Synagogue, Talmud Torah and El Fassiyeen
Explore the Jewish Cemetery Museum and the Tomb of Solica
The Royal Palace and Stories of the Jewish Mellah
The home of Maimonides and the Fes Jewish Community Center
Dinner at a Rabbi’s Home or Kosher Restaurant.
Meet the Local Fes Jewish Community (Friday evenings)

For more information about Jewish Heritage Tours of Fes

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Opening Night at The 21st Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
Fes Festival of Sacred Music, Opening Night - Photo by Lynn Sheppard

Fes Festival of Sacred Music, Opening Night – Photo by Lynn Sheppard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each year, the holy and ancient city of Fes, Morocco is host to the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. This festival brings together sacred and world music from many different cultural, religious and musical traditions. This year’s theme, “Fes: An African Reflection” recalls how Fes was once the intellectual, cultural, spiritual and commercial hub of an Empire which traded and connected with its neighbors across mountains and deserts. The opening night of the festival, held on May 22nd at the magnificent Bab Makina venue, wowed the audience as they were taken across the borders of ancient empires to meet these fascinating peoples and learn their customs.

As the daylight dimmed and the swifts ceased circling over the rooftops of Old Fes, the last of the VIPs took their seats at the front of a sell-out venue for the opening concert of the 21st Fes Festival of Sacred Music. HRH Princess Lalla Selma – representing King Mohammed VI, who is patron of the Festival – arrived in a huddle of black-suited security in a stunning white and gold caftan, to a patter of applause and a burst of flashbulbs. Once the audience was settled, the welcome address was delivered in Arabic, English and French and our journey – in the footsteps of Leo Africanus (Hassan el Wazzan, 16th century diplomat, traveler and chronicler of Africa) – took us across North and West Africa, from tribe to tribe and tradition to tradition in a full circle until we returned back to the holy city of Fes.

21st Annual Fes Festival of Sacred Music, Opening Night - Photo by Lynn Sheppard

21st Annual Fes Festival of Sacred Music, Opening Night – Photo by Lynn Sheppard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year’s opening night -for the 21st edition – was a true spectacle. As we journeyed southward, over 100 artists gave us a glimpse of the musical and cultural traditions along the way: from the Amazigh fables of the Moroccan mountains, to the Andalusian traditions of Fes. From the griot heritage of West Africa to the Simb Lion dance of Senegal. With each step along the journey, the backdrop – which began with Fes famous Bab Boujeloud gate projected on the walls of the Bab Makina – changed from Savannah to desert camp, to palm oasis and back to imperial city.

Moroccan oud master, Driss al Maloumi, opened the show with an Amazigh fable about a sad moon under a backdrop of a full moon and a starry sky. Then to follow, Amazigh songstress, Chérifa greeted the crowd.  A real highlight was the Masks of the Moon Bwaba Ritual, the group performing for the first time outside their native Burkina Faso. Their startling black and white costumes and the haunting melody of the percussion accompanied an incredibly energetic and ritualistic dance. On a gentler note, Malian Ballaké Sissoko, gave the audience a real treat as he appeared on stage with no less than 10 koras, of the Kora Ensemble of Bamako.

After a whistle stop tour of Africa, we arrived with Hassan al Wazzan back in Fez, at the tomb of Sidi Ahmed Tijani, founder of the Tijani Sufi brotherhood. The evening concluded with the Tijani brotherhood singing a song familiar to all the Fassi (Fes natives) in the audience.

The opening event certainly got the Fes Sacred Music Festival off to an impressive and inspiring start. Many of the artists present will appear at over 50 concerts and events over the 9 days of the festival until 30 May 2015.

Written by Lynn Sheppard 

Lynn Sheppard has lived in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast for more than 2 years, supporting local non-profits, writing and becoming an expert on all things Swiri (ie. Essaouiran). She blogs at Maroc-phile.com and for other travel industry clients.

For more information about the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music

Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel Exploration
Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel.  We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Call Travel Exploration at 1 (800) 787-8806 or + 1 (212) 618882681 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Travel the Roman Ruins of Volubilis on a Tailor Made Morocco Tour

Saturday, March 7th, 2009
Roman Ruins, Volubilis

Roman Ruins, Volubilis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Streams of light illuminate the elaborate the Romain ruins of Volubilis accentuating each crevice line and jagged edge with a stream of shadows. As the sun sets the ivory Corinthian columns slowly fade from sepia tones to midnight black silhouettes. On a crisp day in Volubilis tourists snap a series of photos to capture the site’s magnificence. The ruins and mosaics of Volubilis harbor a rich and compleix. Archaeological traces in Voubilis have determined that the Romans occupied the area during the 3rd century BC and established a city of nearly 200,000 people. During this time the city served as the heart of Roman administration. It was an active part of Roman, North Africa producing grains and olive oil exports in the surrounding fertile regions which contributed to its immense prosperity.

Volubilis, Roman arches

Volubilis, Roman arches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volubilis is easily accessible as a day trip from both Meknes and from Fes and a must see historic destination on a Tailor Made Morocco Tour. This area among other nationally recognized attractions in Morocco is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Voubilis is an archaeological thrill for those passionate about exploring some of the best preserved Roman remains in the world.

Mosaic Art, Volubilis

Mosaic Art, Volubilis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dusty roads leading to Voubilis, also referred to as Walili, weave through the winding countryside. The ruins are deep within the gentle rolling hills and flush mountain terrain. The site covers around 800 by 600 metres. Surrounding the ancient remains is a garden of wild plants, and the sound of roaring waters from nearby streams invoke a feeling of serenity. Standing from a distance travelers can look onto the horizon towards the vibrant blue skies and see the elegant temple remains, pillars and the dominant Triumphal arch.

Having survived a few massive earthquakes throughout ancient times, there remain over 30 well-preserved mosaics revealing scenes of ancient Roman culture and mythological creatures.

For more information about the Roman ruins of Voubilis.

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Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Google on call Travel Exploration at (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.