Discover the History of the Jewish Community in Essaouira on a Day Trip From Marrakesh

Initially referred to as Amegdoul, that means “the well-built” or “fortified place” in Berber, after which Mogador by the Portuguese and Spaniards, this lovely fishing city on the Atlantic Coast was lastly renamed Essaouira within the 18th century. The town is filled with attraction and has an interesting historical past and structure which are price discovering throughout a day journey from Marrakesh, situated simply over 100 miles east of Essaouira.

The “retailers of the king”, from the ten most prestigious Jewish households in Morocco, knew in regards to the metropolis throughout Europe. These households loved the status that they obtained from the missions for the Sultan, who was entrusted with Western powers. They really held a lot of the commerce and economic system of the port, the latter offering 40% of all commerce on the Atlantic coast between Timbuktu and Europe. The traded items largely consisted of ostrich feathers, gold mud, salt, ivory, slaves, and so forth.

Below the reign of Sultan Moulay Yazid, the Jewish neighborhood was comparatively spared from persecution and settled in a brand new Jewish quarter from 1807. In contrast to the previous Mellah or Jewish quarter, the brand new one was situated contained in the medina with a purpose to shield the Jews from doable abuses and helps keep a excessive degree of tradition and training.

Within the nineteenth century, town began its decline, however it remained a significant economical and army centre. Following the French invasion after 1844 and sacked town by surrounding tribes, the Jews needed to go away Essaouira to settle in 3 days tour from Marrakech to Merzouga. Nevertheless, they ultimately returned later throughout troublesome financial situations.

When the Spanish attacked in 1860, the Jews took refuge once more within the province of Haza and their plight drew the eye of Sir Moses Montefiore, who obtained the grant of latest land to construct a second Mellah. At the moment, a robust neighborhood organisation might meet the wants of a inhabitants from 4,000 to as much as 14,000 individuals. Whereas the Jewish quarter was represented by a Sheikh within the political and civil affairs, its spiritual standing was supported by a courtroom of three rabbis.

The bills of the neighborhood got here from taxes on kosher meat, on imported merchandise, and from varied donations from worldwide sources. Many spiritual colleges, a yeshiva, and several other English-French Jewish colleges have been based in Essaouira within the 1800s. Within the early twentieth century, the Jewish inhabitants in Essaouira was nonetheless greater than the Muslim inhabitants, and concrete life was regulated by the Jewish calendar. Whereas in 1901 the Jewish neighborhood counted 19,000 individuals, the quantity went down to five,000 in the beginning of the French Protectorate and continued to say no throughout the Nineteen Fifties and Nineteen Sixties.

Among the many figures that formed the historical past of the Jewish Group of Essaouira we might point out Rabbi Abraham Coriat, Abrahm Ibn Attar Messod Knafo, Rabbi Haim Pinto and the Corcos household.Right this moment, there are few Jewish households residing in Essaouira, and the Group Council has undertaken to revive the Attias and Pinto synagogues. Led by Andre Azoulay, adviser to the king, town is experiencing a renaissance and is considered one of Morocco’s most important locations for cultural tourism.

One of the simplest ways to go to Essaouira is from considered one of Morocco’s main cities, well-connected by land and air. Essaouira is a favorite vacation spot on a day journey from Marrakesh, since it may be visited in in the future and it’s only a couple hours’ drive from the Ochre Metropolis.

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