"The Mellah- Jewish Quarter" Top 5 Page for this destination Essaouira Things to Do Tip by suvanki
Essaouira Things to Do: 197 reviews and 413 photos
Moroccan towns and cities often have a Jewish Quarter, known as the Mellah, formed when these citizens were forced to leave Andalucian Spain (along with the Moors) around 1492.
Later, under the order of Sultan Sidi Mahamed Ben Abdallah, families of Jewish merchants were invited to assist in international commerce. Shopkeepers, fruit and veg sellers, craftsmen, peddlers and highly renowned Rabbis enabled development of this once thriving community.
Morocco offered protection during WW2, and also helped many Jewish families , fleeing Poland and Germany etc., to escape to the USA.
However many inhabitants of the mellahs emigrated to Israel in the 1950's and 60's, leaving their homes to fall into disrepair.
Wandering around these narrow winding streets and alleyways, you can spot old Star of David carvings in the stonework, or into the wooden doors. Some doors also have 'hand of Fatima' door knockers.
However this is now one of the poorest areas, with many houses having no running water or toilets.
The Mellah is an interesting place to wander, it is quite atmospheric during the daytime. On my recent visit We were warned not to wander around into the alleys of this area as there were reportings of drug related crimes.
I've also read that a hotel chain has its eye on this area for development - many of the buildings are sea facing!
Address: Mellah, Essaouira
Directions: From the bus station, enter through the first gateway. The Mellah is to the right, sandwiched between Ave Zerktouni and Rue de Mellah
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