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“Great history” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mellah

Mellah
Marrakech, Morocco
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Ranked #19 of 62 Attractions in Marrakech
Type: Historic Sites, Neighborhoods, Cultural
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: <1 hour
Owner description: This is the Jewish neighborhood in Marrakech. Here you´ll find the Lezama Synagoge, an important historical site, as well as other eating and shopping opportunities.
Prague, Czech Republic
Top Contributor
142 reviews 142 reviews
82 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
“Great history”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2013

Mellah in Marrakesh might be smaller than the one in Fes, but nevertheless worth visiting. Make sure you are not there too early in the morning as they will not let you in the Synagogue (due to the morning prayers). It is an active Synagogue with Jewish ladies living still on the premises. The blue and white courtyard is in a great contrast to the red of the houses outside. It is a little hidden, so you might need someone to point you to the entrance (a little opening in the wall).

Visited September 2012
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London, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Intriguing Place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

This is the old Jewish quarter next to the Bahia Palace very near Riad Hayati. You see Hebrew writing on many of the old buildings and there is a little spice market and tinkers' square that is fun to explore.

Visited February 2013
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Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Fascinating market and good food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

While the bustle of the main square and souk is mainly tourists, wander down the road and you see much more realistic daily life. The market is great to see if you can manage the smells and the food in Place des Ferblantiers was some of the tastiest we had in Marrakech.

Visited February 2013
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Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Kind of interesting”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

Doesn't look much different from the rest of old windy street Marrakech. Interesting pretty much only from the standpoint of history, in that the Jewish quarter was always around/near the Casbah or local palace. Some say that the Jews in those olden days had a deal to protect the local potentate, a kind of you scratch my back I'll scratch yours thingie, others say that the local potentate put the Jews there so the mobs could vent their displeasure with them and tire before reaching him. I suspect, after experiencing the local culture, it was probably a little of both.

Visited February 2013
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Dallas, Texas
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Worth visiting for the synagogue”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2013

The Mellah is what is considered the "Jewish Quarter" of Marrakech, though currently there are only about 250 Jews in Marrakech, and of those only about 10 still live in the Mellah area.
It is easy to find with maps and by asking around, though you will need to have some 1 dh coins handy if kids show you the way to the synagogue.
Though there did not seem to be anything particular Jewish visible in the exterior of the quarter, the synagogue itself is worth a visit. It is open for visitors, who are encourage to give the donation of their choice. There is a small interior courtyard decorated with newer blue-and-white tile, and an erroneous tile sign which says the synagogue was founded in 1492, when the Jews left Spain. A young man whom we assumed to be Jewish showed us into the synagogue and gave us some brief explanation at the entry, then promptly disappeared, only to reappear when we exited, demanding money for his 2-minute entry "guide" work. Turned out to have nothing to do with the synagogue at all.

The prayer area is small and has the unusual feature of having the 'pulpit' and one end and the torah at the other, so that all the chairs in the middle are actually lined up sideways (not facing one end or the other).
There was an English woman (of Sephardic Jewish descent) who is the historian for the synagogue and gave us an extremely interesting account of its history and a brief history of Jews in Morocco (and it was she who told us of the erroneous plaque date- the Jews actually moved into the Mellah area in the late 1500s).

Apart from the synagogue, the only other thing of note when we were there is the Jewish cemetery, which is actually quite large and we enjoyed ambling around reading some of the tombs. Many are unmarked, but plenty are, and go up to 2011.

Apparently there is a big spice market in this area on Fridays too.

Visited January 2013
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