Tag Archives: Mogador

Remembering Jewish Essaouira, Heritage Sites & Synagogues

Muslims & Jews in Essaouira, Praying for Rain

Muslims & Jews in Essaouira, Praying for Rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essaouira owes much of its past, present and future to its situation on a bay sheltered from the fierce trade winds of the Atlantic Ocean by an archipelago of small, rocky islands. Towards the end of the 18th century, Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah (Mohammed III) created a strategic role for Essaouira in his new trade policy oriented towards the Atlantic. He instructed the construction of the Kasbah (King’s Quarters) and the Skala fortifications which became the basis for the medina (old city) we see today. He ordered the closure of Agadir harbor, further south, and effectively routed a large amount of trade between Europe and West and Central Africa through his new port. The Sultan was the first Head of State to recognize US Independence in 1776, thereby creating a strategic linkage in support of his trade objectives in Morocco.

In order to ensure the success of his strategy, Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah invited 10 prominent Jewish families from the key commercial centers of Morocco to settle in what was known then as Mogador and manage the trade. These families were largely the descendents of those expelled from Andalusia at the end of the 15th century and had gained a strong reputation for their skills as merchants. They became the “Tujjar as-Sultan“, the Sultan’s traders. These families – and many foreign consuls and negociants – settled in the newly-built houses of the Kasbah, which featured typical Swiri architecture of rooms set around a colonnaded interior patio, the latter often large enough to accommodate merchandise. Such buildings can be seen in the area near Bab el Minzeh and Bab Sbaa and along Rue Laalouj, where the French Institute and Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah Museum are excellent examples.

Chaim Pinto, Jewish Synagogue Essaouira

Chaim Pinto, Jewish Synagogue Essaouira

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the start of the 19th century, the population of Essaouira was majority Jewish. There were as many as 40 synagogues. Some, like the Simon Attia synagogue were the private synagogues of a large family, while others, such as the Slat Lkahal, were community centers of worship. As the affluence of the city grew, it attracted many migrants from the rural areas, seeking economic opportunities. The Mellah, a typical feature of a Moroccan city and a principally Jewish neighborhood, was built to house these families. Essaouira also had a Mellah Kdim, the “old Mellah”, which was an extension of the Kasbah and housed the Jewish middle classes. Mogador was unique in Morocco in that Jews, Muslims and Christians – those of Jewish, Berber, African, European and Arabic descent – lived side-by-side. There was a fruitful exchange at all levels of society, from artisans like silversmiths passing on their trade, to the interchange of intellectual and musical influences such as seen in the Andalusian music which continued to be taught and performed in Mogador long after the flight of Jews and Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula.

Jewish Cemetery, Essaouira

Jewish Cemetery, Essaouira

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, there are a number of 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 hilloula (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.

The guardian of the cemeteries can also grant access to the Haim Pinto synagogue, just back inside the medina at Bab Doukkala, in the Mellah. The neighborhood is part of an urban clearance program and the synagogue, although thoroughly renovated inside, sits in a precarious position surrounded by crumbling and decaying buildings, the former homes of Jewish families.

Slat Synagogue, Essaouira Restoration Project

Slat Synagogue, Essaouira Restoration Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a few doors along, back towards the central medina, is Slat Lkahal, a community synagogue currently under painstaking renovation by Haim Bitton, helped by the generous donations of members of former Mogador Jews. Those who are lucky to meet him there will learn of the intricate connections between Jewish communities in Manchester, London, Italy and Mogador. So far, he has managed to rescue key elements of the original synagogue from demolition and is carefully restoring them using local artisans. He hopes to turn rooms on the upper floor into exhibition and meeting spaces.

Back in the Kasbah, the Simon Attia synagogue is the subject of an ambitious restoration program. Once also the Rabbinical Court of Mogador, the aim is to restore the space used for worship on the ground floor and create a library of documents related to Moroccan Judaism alongside accommodation for students of these works upstairs.

Most of Essaouira’s synagogues are long gone. Few have actually been demolished, but most have passed into alternative uses and only the older members of the Mogador Jewish diaspora recall their location. There are still plenty of clues to the size of the former Jewish population of Essaouira, however. A wander around the labyrinthine alleyways of the Mellah or Kasbah will reveal several doorways with the Star of David on the lintel and a conversation with any of Essaouira’s older residents will reveal the proximity and goodwill of the Muslim and Jewish communities in times gone by.

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 Essaouira Jewish Heritage Sites or an Essaouira Jewish Heritage Tour

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.
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Essaouira’s Atlantic Andalucía Festival, Your Morocco Tour Guide

Photograph - Lynn Sheppard -  Jalal Chekara and Chekara Flamenca, Essaouira Atlantic Andalucia Festival

Photograph – Lynn Sheppard – Jalal Chekara and Chekara Flamenca, Essaouira Atlantic Andalucia Festival

The Festival des Andalousies Atlantiques (Atlantic Andalucía Festival) celebrated in October 2014 its 11th year in Essaouira, on Morocco’s Southern Atlantic coast. It is now a well-established fixture in the annual schedule of this festival city, alongside the Gnaoua World Music Festival (which held its 17th edition in Essaouira – 2014) and the Printemps Musical des Alizés (the Spring chamber music festival initiated in 2000).

All three festivals celebrate the rich cultural diversity of Morocco and in particular the urban coexistence of different religious and ethnic groups in Essaouira (or Mogador, as it was once known). Despite its modest size, 19th century Mogador was Morocco’s foremost port. This was Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah’s strategic objective. He had created the kasbah (King’s Quarters) of Mogador to house his officials alongside the families of 10 Jewish merchants he invited to develop trade with Europe and the new world. European traders and consuls soon followed and the Sultan’s recognition of US independence in 1776 (the first head of state or government to do so) assured a significant market for the erstwhile ‘port of Timbuktu.’

Some of these prominent Jewish families – and the less wealthy families who followed them and found their home in the Mellah of Essaouira – were descendants of the Megorachim, who had fled the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 15th century after the fall of Al-Andalus. They came to Mogador from cities such as Tangiers, Tetouan and Fes, where many exiles has settled. This cultural melting pot of Muslims, Jews and Christians, of Arabs, Berbers, Europeans and Africans, fuelled great intellectual and artistic collaboration. This is typified in the Andalusian style of music, which draws on Jewish, Arabic, Berber and Spanish influences.

The poster for the 2014 edition of the Essaouira Atlantic Andalucía Festival features French painter Eugène Delacroix’ work, ‘Jewish Musicians of Mogador’. Delacroix didn’t visit Mogador, but was present during the visit of a French delegation to the palace of Sultan Moulay Abd Er Rahman in Meknes in 1832. Wishing to present the best of his Empire, the Sultan brought an Andalusian style orchestra of Jewish and Muslim musicians from Mogador to play for the visitors. The 2014 festival presented a recreation (without the aid of any written records) of the piece which this group played for the Sultan’s guests almost 200 years ago.

Photograph by Lynn Sheppard - Neta Elkayam at the 2014 Essaouira Atlantic Andalucia Festival

Photograph by Lynn Sheppard – Neta Elkayam at the 2014 Essaouira Atlantic Andalucia Festival

The annual Festival celebrates this common yet diverse heritage, as does the Conservatoire (Music School) of Essaouira, which today trains young musicians to preserve these rich traditions. The young artists, such as local talent Hicham Dinar Souiri, follow in the footsteps of great masters – some of whom, such as Abderrahim Souiri, (‘Souiri’ meaning ‘of Essaouira” and by extension its traditions), were on stage during the festival and who themselves have been influenced by the great names of the genre, such as Samy el Maghribi.

In 2014, Festival-goers were also treated to the great Andalusian Orchestra of Tetouan, directed by Amine Al Akrami; flamenco dance and song from Chekara Flamenca in collaboration with both Rabbi Haim Louk (a master of Moroccan Jewish liturgy) and Abir al Abed (lead vocalist with all-female group, Arige); and the modern ensemble of Neta Elkayam (a gorgeous, talented and energetic female singer of Moroccan origin based in Israel) and Maher Khalil Deeba (Palestinian singer and oud musician from East Jerusalem).

The significance of this Festival is not only in celebrating this past, but its contribution to a future in Morocco where inter-religious and intra-community tolerance and respect continues. As Mr André Azoulay, Patron of the Festival, Adviser to HRH King Mohammed VI and Jewish son of Mogador said on the occasion of the 2014 festival: “This story is not only written in the past.” Morocco lives these principles today – no more so than in Essaouira.

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. You can contact Lynn at: lynn@maroc-o-phile.com

For more information about Essaouira’s Atlantic Andalucía Festival or an Essaouira Tour  

Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara Desert,Berber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, 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.

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Moroccan Doors of Essaouira, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Canary yellow and Majorelle Blue Door, Essaouira

The magic of Morocco is found in many places and one of them is in the hand painted doors of Essaouira. To travel inside Morocco is to visit this vast country one door at a time. Moroccan doors in Essaouira are ordained with Moorish style motifs, chamsa door knockers and painted in a variety of hues such as in Majorelle blue and canary yellow. Doors in Morocco are a gateway to another world and bare emblem of history along with the secret lives in a Moroccan home. Made of wood, metal and plaster Moroccan doors are a photographers dream as they make for the perfect subject matter.

Spanish-Mororish Door in Essaouira

Many of the designs on Moroccan doors’ geometrical Moorish and Jewish motifs evoke centuries of history. Moroccans of both Muslim and Jewish decent have lived peacefully together for decades therefore cities like Essaouira, Fes and Marrakech have hallmarks on their doors that range from unique patterns to Jewish stars and are often dated. The doors of Morocco bare both the Moorish and Jewish influence and this can be found especially in Morocco’s Jewish mellahs.

Door with Jewish Star, Essaouira

Essaouira has a long and rich history which dates back to the 16th century when it was discovered by the Portuguese who named it “Mogador.” The Berber name “Mogador” means wall, a reference to the fortress walls that originally enclosed the city. Essaouira was built during the 18th century. Mohammed III decided to oriented the Kingdom of Morocco for change and trade with Europe andchose Mogador as the key location. One of his objectives was to establish a harbour at the closest possible point from the Imperial city of Marrakech. The other was to cut off trade from Agadir in the south. This resulted in the inahabitants of Agadir being forced to relocate to Essaouira.

For 12 years, Mohammed III oversaw a French engineer, Theodore Cornut and several other European architects who built the fortress and city along modern lines. Originally called “Souira,” the small fortress, then became “Es-Saouira”, the beautifully designed.”  Part of those designs remain today in the architecture of the doors found in the old medina.

Blue & Stone Door in Essaouira, 1336

Moroccan architecture is an eclectic, even cosmopolitan cultural blend that reflects its long and rich history. Morocco’s indigenous people are the Berbers, who farmed the land from at least 2000 BC. Subsequent rulers and invaders included Arabians, the Spanish, the Portuguese and in recent, colonial times, French occupiers. Morocco was declared a French protectorate in 1912, the same year as the painted Henry Matisse came to the Maghreb.

Door knocker with Chamsa, Essaouira

The Hispano-Moorish architectural style of Morocco’s doors originated in Spain (in Andalusia), and was taken across the Straits of Gibraltar to Morocco at the behest of the ruling Berber Almoravid dynasty. The Almoravids sent Spanish artisans to Morocco, where they introduced the graceful arches and lofty domes that, along with white walls and green stucco roofs, have become hallmarks of the Hispano-Moorish style. As a result of people being smaller centuries ago doors were smaller and alleyways narrower. Many of the homes in the medinas (old cities) are over 1,000 years old, and a world of history can be found behind each door.

For more information about the doors of Essaouira in Morocco and Essaouira tours

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial CitiesSeaside Resorts,Sahara DesertBerber villagesA Taste of MoroccoMagical Kasbahs, Ruins & WaterfallsAbsolute Morocco, The Best of MarrakechFes, and Ouarzazate

Discover The Best of Morocco - Travel ExplorationTravel 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 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

Doors of Morocco, Moroccan doors, Doors of Essaouira, Essaouira, Doors of Fes, Doors of Marrakech, Moroccan architecture, Essaouira architecture, Mogador, Moorish architecture, Berber, Almoravid, Hispano-Moorish architecture, Henry Matisse, Morocco Holidays, Morocco Travel, Travel Exploration, Travel to Morocco

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Morocco Tour, Trade Bead & Moroccan Jewelry Treasure Hunting, Your Morocco Travel Guide

Khamsa (Hamsa) Necklace

Khamsa (Hamsa) Necklace

Morocco Tour: Trade Bead & Moroccan Jewelry Treasure Hunting Fall 2010 Itinerary
September 20th – October 3rd, 2010

Excitement awaits you on a Trade Bead & Moroccan Jewelry Treasure Hunting Tour Hosted by Travel Exploration and North African Jewelry Expert, Sarah Corbett. Come join us on a Morocco Tour Adventure that covers the Imperial City of Marrakech, the seaside artist colony of Essaouira and Southern Morocco’s hotspots: Tiznit, Taradount, Agdz, Zagora and Ouarzazate for bead making and treasure hunting for best antique amber and Berber silver jewelry in all of Morocco.

Travel Exploration specializes in tailor-made Morocco Tours with a distinctly authentic Moroccan flavor. Travel Exploration Morocco provides unique itineraries that offer an unparalleled diversity of travel and terrain through a people that are naturally hospitable, warm and friendly. You can count on Travel Exploration’s benefits of an Anglo-Moroccan partnership as you depart on a Trade Bead & Moroccan Jewelry Treasure Hunting Tour. This Morocco Tour is an exclusive of Travel Exploration and created by Director, Alecia Cohen & North African Jewelry Expert, Sarah Corbett.

Berber Woman Wearing Ait Serrouchen Necklace

Berber Woman Wearing Ait Serrouchen Necklace

SEPTEMBER: 20th – MARRAKECH ARRIVALS
►Airport arrivals, visit of Djemma El Fna Square and the Souks.

►Check into your Riad. Afternoon treasure hunting in the heart of Marrakech.

►Welcome dinner gathering at Le Maison Arabe – Moroccan food and Andalucian, Arabic music.

Spend the night at a 4 Star Riad in Marrakech.


SEPTEMBER 21st – MARRAKECH (GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR)

►Breakfast at your Riad. Begin your one-day Historical Tour of Marrakech.

►Your introduction to Marrakech will begin in the new city, we will navigate our way to French, Gueliz and head to the Majorelle Gardens, a magical and lush small garden estate designed by Jacque Majorelle and maintained by Yves Saint Laurent. The Majorelle Garden is filled with colorful walkways, ponds, cactus and plants as well as a beautiful shop with hand-made goods. On our return to your hotel, we will pass by the La Mammounia Hotel Garden (where Alfred Hitchcock wrote the famous film The Birds).

►Visit the 19th Century Bahia Palace, originally built for Si Moussa, a former slave who became King Moulay Hassan’s chamberlain. The palace holds a courtyard and riads decorated with and the most beautiful carved stucco, Arabic architecture. Next visit the 16th Century Saadian Tombs and El Mansour mosque. Marrakech is a city of underground channels built by the architects from Cordoba, Spain to provide water for the town and Palmery.

►Next visit the old, Medina, the old quarter of the Marrakech. From here we will explore this historically charming area by foot. In Djemma el Fna, you will visit the famous 12th century Koutouba Mosque and its influential minaret.

►Your guide will lead you through the labyrinth streets and alleys of the Djemma. Enjoy aromatic smells, taste fresh squeezed orange juice and venture into the souks specializing in Berber carpets, silver jewelry, artisan workshops, handmade shoes and tanneries. Enjoy a three- course lunch consisting of fresh salad, tajine and fruit at one of Marrakech most delectable restaurants. Lunch after mid-day.

►Afternoon treasure hunting and jewelry shopping in the Souks of Marrakech.

Jewelry & Treasures of Marrakech Viewing of Tuareg Prize Collection:
Evening viewing of Moroccan Jewelry pieces at your Riad by a local Tuareg Trader in Marrakech. Enjoy a private two- hour viewing of fabulous beads, jewels and local silver pieces available for purchase and historical discussion about the origin and meaning of these pieces.

Spend the night at a 4 Star Riad in Marrakech.

Dar Tiskiwin Museum, Marrakech Morocco

Dar Tiskiwin Museum, Marrakech Morocco

SEPTEMBER 22nd – MARRAKECH – ESSAOUIRA

►Breakfast at your Riad in Marrakech.

►Next we will visit the Tiskiwin Museum, a private museum dedicated to popular arts & crafts, styled as a beautiful Spanish-Moroccan house, next door to Dar Si Said palace, a smaller version of the Bahia.

Tiskiwin Museum Lecture: You will have a first hand viewing of the Tiskiwin and listen to a one-hour lecture and exploration of its history, be shown its private bead and jewelry collection.

►Departure for Essaouira in the early afternoon. Lunch en route to Essaouria.

Take the road to visit the seaside port of Essaouira. The journey to this former Portuguese fishing village offers up only a few roadside towns and the occasional Berber village. In the ’60s and ’70s, Essaouira was a pitstop on the hippie trek from Marrakesh. Jimi Hendrix made the pilgrimage, as did Bob Marley and Cat Stevens. Essaouira was the inspiration for Hendrix’s song “Castles Made of Sand.”

►Witness the Argan goats in trees nestling in to eat away at the Argan nuts which are typically used in making Argan Oil, Butter and Cosmetics. Stop at Chichoa en route.

►Arrive in Essaouira. Check into your Hotel. Take a stroll along the town’s sunlit pedestrian main square, Place Prince Moulay el Hassan and the Skala du Port, the fishing harbor, offers breathtaking views of the Portuguese ramparts. Explore the ramparts and the old medina. The medina of Essaouira (formerly “Mogador”) is a UNESCO World Heritage listed city, as an example of a late-18th century fortified town. Evening walk along the Ramparts by the sea.

►Dinner at Taros or El Mer, Essaouira’s top eats with sea views and fresh fish.

Spend the night at a 4 Star Hotel in Essaouira with views of the sea.


SEPTEMBER 23rd – ESSAOUIRA – AGADIR – TIZNIT

▶Rise, breakfast at your Hotel.

Bead & Jewelry Hunting in Essaouira:
Take time out in Essaouira’s old medina to visit the jewelry shops that specialize in antique Venetian beads, Berber Silver, Amber and Copal.

▶ Have lunch at the fish-grill cafes, with wooden tables and benches laid out overlooking the sea that was once- in the 19th century- the onlyMoroccan port south of Tangier. After lunch take a relaxing walk on the beach in Essaouira.

▶Depart Essaouira in mid afternoon and drive up the coast passing the seaside Berber city of Agadir with an evening arrival in Tiznit.

▶Dinner at your hotel in the center of Tiznit.

Spend the night at a 4 Star Hotel in Tiznit.

Bowel of Silver Moroccan Jewelry

Bowel of Silver Moroccan Jewelry

SEPTEMBER 24th: TIZNIT – TAROUDANT

Moroccan Jewelry & Antique Silver Treasure Hunting in Tiznit:

►Rise, have breakfast at your Hotel in Tiznit.

►Tiznit is a town in the southern Moroccan economic region of Sous-Massa- Draa founded in 1881 by the Sultan Hassan I. It has a population of approximately 50,000. Tiznit is well-known for its silver jewelry, daggers and sabres.

►Spend half-day visiting the Jewelry Souk in the center of Tiznit and a a journey to Bab Lakhmis Ait M’hamid where you will have access to and study the variety of kinds of Southen Moroccan and Mauranitian beads and jewelry. You will also be able to make purchases there to add to your collection.

►Have lunch near Tiznit 20 kilometers by the sea, then take the road to Taradount.

►Arrive in Taroudant. Arrive and check into your traditional Moroccan Riad in a bungalow, located inside an interior of a garden. Evening relaxation by the pool.

►Dinner and Spend the night at a 4 Star Riad in Taradount.

Ait Atta Headdress Pendant

Ait Atta Headdress Pendant

SEPTEMBER 25th: TIZNIT – TAROUDANT

►Rise, have breakfast at your Riad, then begin your exploration of Taroudaunt.

Taroudant is a Moroccan city located in the Souss Valley in the southern part of the country. It is situated east from Agadir on the road to Ouarzazate and south from Marrakech. It has the feel of a small fortified market town on some caravan route. It is also known for its local crafts like jewelry and carpets. Taroudant is often referred to as the “Grandmother of Marrakech” because it is a scaled down, slowed down town that resembles Marrakech with its surrounding ramparts. Unlike Marrakech, Taroudant contains almost the whole city within its walls.

►Visit the old medinas’ ramparts with a guided two-hour tour then spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the souk of Taradount and treasure hunting in its shops that are filled with antique silver, beads and shaded alleys occupied by gentle craftsman and shop owners.

►Dinner and Spend the night at a 4 Star Riad in Taradount.

Bead Making by Fire in Taradount

Bead Making by Fire in Taradount

SEPTEMBER 26th: TAROUDANT

►Rise, have breakfast at your Riad in Taradount then take the road to spend an entire day watching the Bead-making Process, rare demonstrations of Bead-making traditions. Lunch during your Bead-Making workshop.

View The Bead-Making Process:
View the bead-making process detail at the workshop where you can create your own jewelry from the beads that you have seen produced that day – which will be yours to keep as a souvenir of your visit. There will be access to a wide selection of beads available.

Bead Demonstration Of Rare Bead-making Traditions:
During your workshop you will have the opportunity to witness a demo of three different styles of bead making. Bead making enthusiasts will enjoy this demonstration as it will enable them to view how old traditions are still be practiced, produced and carried on in Morocco. Some of these traditions include utilizing couscous and other original Moroccan traditions to create beads. Travel Exploration Morocco was the first agency to record this “rare” bead-making process and your group will be second to experience it first hand.

►There will be an opportunity to also purchase beads and special silver and other Moroccan Jewelry during your Bead Making Workshop in Taroudant.

►Lunch in Taroudant at La Valla, a local restaurant in Taradount or at the Bead-Making workshop. After lunch continue Moroccan Bead and Jewelry Treasure Hunting or return to your Riad to relax for the evening.

►Dinner and Spend the night at a 4 Star Riad in Taradount.

El Haj Bead-making in Taradount

El Haj Bead-making in Taradount

SEPTEMBER 27th – TAROUDAUNT – TALIOUINE – AGDZ

Breakfast at your Riad. Then spend take the road to Agdz.

En route to Agdz, you will stop at the Taliouine Saffron Cooperative. Taliouine is the traditional area of cultivation of saffron in Morocco and has been for hundreds of years. The Taliouine Souktana cooperative is on the road to Taroudant, in the village of Taliouine, in the heart of Sirwa Mountains. The Taliouine Cooperative sells only a truly biological saffron, cultivated according the traditional ways, with natural fertilizers . The mountains dry climate is ideal for such a culture.

After visiting the Taliouine Saffron Cooperative , continue the road to Agdz.

Arrive in Agdz and visit a local, traditional Moroccan small shop that is famous for its antique beads such as amber, coral, copal and also offers up a fantastic array of antique silver Moroccan Jewelry. After treasure hunting in Agdz, continue the road to Agdz center.

Dinner and Spend the night at a beautiful 4 Star Kasbah Riad in Agdz.


SEPTEMBER 28th- AGDZ – AIT OUZZINE – ZAGORA

►Breakfast at your Riad. Take the road to visit the village of Ait Ouzzine.

Aït Ouzzine is a Berber village inhabited 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, partake in a cooking lesson of how to make traditional bread, couscous and a tajine.

►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, live stock, and henna plants.

Lunch will be served to you in Aït Ouzzine by a traditional Berber family. The menu will include a traditional meal of fresh baked bread with spices and a chicken and vegetable tajine and fresh local fruits for desert.

►After lunch, you can have your hands and feet painted with henna or 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. Take the road back to Ouarzazate.

Dinner and Spend the night at a 4 Star Riad located within the Palmary of old Zagora.

Southern Cross, Mold in Amzrou, Zagora

Southern Cross, Mold in Amzrou, Zagora

SEPTEMBER 29th: ZAGORA – TAMAGROUTE – AMZROU – OUARZAZATE

►Breakfast at your Riad in the Zagora Sahara, then begin your visit of Zagora, a Saharan desert town in the southern Draa Valley. Zagora is favored by travelers for its desert dunes, palms, 45 varieties of dates and its Hollywood sunset mountain backdrops. Take the road by pise (windy road) to discover the land where caravans once transported sugar, tea, dates and other dry goods to Ouarzazate.

Explore the Tamegroute Pottery Cooperative:
Learn how the local, forest green, glazed pottery is made and fired using regional henna. The holy village of Tamegroute’s claim to fame through out history is the beautiful pottery created that has a glaze made of henna and is sun dried.

►You will enjoy a workshop lead by Tamagroute pottery masters whereby you will learn how the pottery unique to this region of Zagora is made. You will learn the history as well as their local techniques. An English translator will be provided along with all necessary materials for you to make your own Tamagroute pottery. Everything you make you will be able to keep.

►Visit the ancient Zaouia site and the Koranic library. Tamegroute has a Koranic Library that once held 40,000 volumes and theological college dating from the 11th century. The library contains a collection of illuminated Korans, the oldest of which are written on gazelle skins.

The Art of Silversmiths in Amzrou:

Next, visit the village of Amzrou, Zagora and it’s old Jewish Mellah. See how silversmiths work to make hand made silver fibulas and Southern Crosses. Watch how molds are made from scratch, then how the Sahara’s sand is used to bind the molds for creating jewelry. The silver smiths in Amzrou were taught their craft by the Jews who inhabited this village in the 1950’s. Before they fled to Israel, they left a long history of craftsmanship along with the land to continue their silver making jewelry tradition. There will be an opportunity for bead buying, silver buying and also for purchasing of old artifacts.

►View the old Mellah’s Museum and artifacts for viewing and for purchase. Amzrou and the old city boasts a private area filled with artifacts that are of Berber, Jewish and Arabic origin.

►After exploring Amzrou, take the road to Ouarzazte.

Spend the night in a 4 Star Charming Riad in Ouarzazate.

Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, Ouarzazate

Ait Benhaddou Kasbah, Ouarzazate

SEPTEMBER 30th: OUARZAZATE (GUIDED HISTORICAL TOUR & AFTERNOON SHOPPING)

►Rise early, breakfast at your Riad and then take the road to visit the Ouarzazate region and its famous Kasbahs.

►“See Ouarzazate and die” are feelings often expressed by Moroccans with regards to this magical city that is the door to the Sahara desert. Located just four hours from Marrakech, Ouarzazate is the main Berber city in the south known for its spectacular sunsets and dramatic mountain and desert scenery. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys, Ouarzazate was once crossing point for African traders seeking to reach northern cities in Morocco and Europe. During the French period, Ouarzazate expanded considerably as a garrison town and became the administrative centre of the Zagora region. Ouarzazate became famous when it’s nearby Kasbah; Aït Benhaddou appeared in the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.

►Take the windy road by piste visit the Oasis of Fint passing the “Plateau de pierres“. Journey on a one-hour walk inside the Oasis where you will have a cup of tea with the headmasters family Azziz Ouaziz and tour the surrounding area where date palm oases and dramaticdesert scenery are king.

► Then take the road to Ait Benhaddou. Located 32 km from Ouarzazate lies the picturesque village. Aït Benhaddou of Aït Benhaddou is situated in Souss-Massa Draa on a hill along the Ouarzazate River. Lawrence of Arabia was filmed here and Orson Welles used it as a location for Sodome and Gomorrah; and for Jesus of Nazareth the whole lower part of the village was rebuilt. In recent years more controlled restoration has been carried out under UNESCO auspices. Aït Benhaddou is one of many locations in this region used for shooting Hollywood films. Aït Benhaddou which once served as the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Most of the town’s inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; ten families however still live within the ksar.

►Your guide will lead you on a private tour through this Berber village of towered and crenulated Kasbahs that once guarded the lucrative caravan route through the Atlas Mountains. Explore the Kasbahs by foot with the option to ride a donkey across a river. Aït Benhaddou which once served as the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Most of the town’s inhabitants now live in a more modern village at the other side of the river; ten families however still live within the ksar.

►Enjoy lunch at a Kasbah that overlooks Ait Benhaddou. Next, visit Kasbah Taouirirt. Kasbah Taorirt was built by the Glaoui. Its location was strategic for trading routes and in the 1930’s when the Glaoui ruled the South it was then one of Morocco’s largest Kasbahs. Explore Kasbah Taouirirt’s nooks and crannies and discover some local female painters who sell their art inside as well as the many quality silver shops just steps outside the Kasbah.

►Spend the afternoon jewelry shopping in Ouarzazate. Discover treasure hunting in this calm, oasis of Southern Morocco that was originally an administrative center during the French Protectuate. Discover jewelry just outside Kasbah Taouirt and in the old market alongside the smells of Berber Amber and Musk.

SEPTEMBER 30th: OUARZAZATE (GUIDED HISTORICAL & AFTERNOON SHOPPING TOUR CONTINUED)

Dinner at La Kasbah Des Sables in Ouarzazate. Le Kasbah Des Sables is a gastronomic experience with a menu that combines the cuisine of Fes, Meknes, Tangier, Arab and Berber with first class fare. This restaurant offers a museum- quality atmosphere as its’ decor has been hand stitched together and is filled with Berber, Morocco traditional furniture and art that was hand crafted by local artisans in the Ouarzazate region. Each section of the restaurant offers an intimate environment and the opportunity to eat on tables that are hand painted and adorned with silver fibulas, Amber and other regional jewels.

Spend the night in a 4 Star Charming Riad in Ouarzazate.


OCTOBER 1st: OUARZAZATE – MARRAKECH
►Rise, have breakfast at your Riad and then take the road to Marrakech.

►During your journey to Marrakech you will also pass the olive groves of the Oued Zat, as you ascend onto the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass Road. Built by the French in the 1920’s, the Tizi-N-Tichka Pass can be described as having mountainous barriers, Mediterranean and oceanic influences and desert borders. long the route you will see panoramic views of the High Atlas Mountains as well as sights of fertile valleys, blue and red colored pise villages and other striking mineral environments.

▶En route you will go by piste to visit Kasbah Telout, one of Morocco’s hidden jewels and a famous Kasbahs that is the origin of the Pacha Glaoui Family. Kasbah Telout is hidden among a tiny road in a small village that is 20 minutes outside Tichka. It’s history stands alone with its original zellij tile, authentic, preserved silks and grand remnants of the Glaou family. Unlike the other Kasbahs in Southern Morocco, Telout was occupied by the Glaoui’s instead of the slaves and has stunning views. This Kasbahs has yet to be coined a UNESCO World Heritage site and while it appears in parts to be in ruins on the exterior, its interior is one of true splendor.

►En route stop for lunch and visit the Argan Cooperative where Argan Oil, Butter and Cosmetics are made with the Argan nut by hand as Berber women crack the nuts and the grind them one by one. Have a complimentary tasting. This cooperative is run entirely by women. Lunch in the village of Tadart.

►Arrive in Marrakech. Evening Free.

►Spend the night at 4 Star Riad in Marrakech.

OCTOBER 2nd: MARRAKECH (SHOPPING DAY)

►Rise early, breakfast at your Riad. Free Day to Shop the Souks of Marrakech for the special Moroccan Beads and Jewelry you missed out on the first time around.

►Sarah Corbett is available by arrangement for morning shopping guidance.

Jewelry & Treasures of Marrakech Viewing:
Evening viewing of Moroccan Jewelry pieces at your Riad by a local Berber Trader in Marrakech. Enjoy a private two- hour viewing of fabulous beads, jewels and local silver pieces available for purchase and historical discussion about the origin and meaning of these pieces.

►Spend the night at 4 Star Riad in Marrakech.


OCTOBER 3rd: MARRAKECH MENARA AIRPORT DEPARTURES:

▶Breakfast at your Riad. Departure from Marrakech’s Menara Airport.

Sarah Corbett, North African Jewelry Expert & Alecia Cohen, Director Travel Exploration Morocco

Sarah Corbett, North African Jewelry Expert & Alecia Cohen, Director Travel Exploration Morocco

COST PER PERSON: 14 Days/ 13 Nights
$3,850 USA / 2,620 GBP / 3,115 EUROS/ 3,930 CAD

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: 14 Days/ 13 Nights
$1,050 USA /700 GBP /850 EUROS/ 1,070 CAD

For more information about a Morocco Tour or the Trade Bead & Moroccan Jewelry Treasure Hunting Itinerary

For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit 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 (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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