Morocco’s rich history includes a long period of Arab and Jewish communities accepting their differences and living and working together to bring success to their respective businesses. The Mellah in Marrakech refers to the area where the Jewish community resided. In cities all over Morocco, Mellahs flourished and became small cities within cities.
At its peak in the 1500s, the Mellah in Marrakech included bakers, jewelers, tailors, sugar traders, artisans, craft people, outdoor markets, fountains and synagogues.
Nowadays most of the Jewish presence is gone – there are only around 250 Jews remaining in Marrakech – but you can still see the shop fronts and large bazaars.
Many French Jews can trace their roots back to Casablanca and Marrakech, consequently many make trips to Marrakech to see with their own eyes the landmarks from stories told by grandparents.
A large part of the Mellah has undergone an impressive renovation project over the last couple of years – while it has definitely raised the profile of the neighbourhood, unfortunately much of the old charm has gone.
Still operational in the Mellah is the Lazama Synagogue which is open to the public, and adjacent to the Mellah, is the Jewish Cemetery.