AACI invites you to enter a world of mystery. Morocco is an initiation into the magic of the Islamic, Arabic, African world of medinas, minarets, desert and mountain, and yet it retains a European patina. Imbibe the spirit of Morocco; wander the streets of the great cities. Fes is a stunning array of medieval buildings; the world-famous souk of Marrakesh sells a bewildering array of goods; Casablanca, is a thriving commercial center, and Rabat reflects its modern French origins. The snow-capped Atlas Mountains lie inland. Beyond them are the fringes of the parched Sahara. Whether scaling distant ridges, haggling for exotic artifacts, gazing at ancient wonders or marveling at the pink of a desert dawn, in Morocco, you will be mesmerized
Day 1: Tel Aviv – Casablanca – Meknes – Fes Arrival at Casablanca the most important city in Morocco. We will travel to the city Meknes which was built by Sultan Mulai Ismail in the 17th century and which is fondly known as the “Versailles of Morocco.” Meknes was a lively Jewish center until its Jewish inhabitants made aliyah with the founding of the State of Israel. We’ll tour the many sites that adorned the city in the times of Sultan Ismail, including the famous Mansur Gate.
After our visit we will continue to Fes for overnight.
Day 2: Today will be mostly devoted to Fes, the religious and cultural capital of Morocco, which combines old and new. There will be a guided tour with a local English-speaking guide. The area of Fes is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its narrow lanes with their workshops remain as they have been for hundreds of years. We’ll visit the the Royal Palace square, which is by the Jewish quarter – the oldest mellah in Morocco – as well as the Jewish cemetery and the Abu Danan Synagogue in the mellah`. We’ll view the Dynastic Tombs and city as a whole from the green roofs and walls of Fes. From the rooftops we’ll see the tannery quarter where hides are treated, and visit a ceramics factory where we’ll learn about this unique local craft. The city’s ramparts surround a maze of winding alleys and a bustling market divided according to the guilds of its artisans.
Day 3: Fes – Ifran – Midelt – Errachidia– Erfoud After breakfast we travel to Ifran, a Swiss-type Moroccan town, located at 1600 meters above sea level. The entire area is surrounded by magnificent monkey-inhabited cedar forests. The town also hosts the Peace University, where members of the three monotheistic religions were supposed to have studied together. We will follow the old caravan trail south, stopping for lunch in Midelt, a market town set in the high plains between the Middle and High Atlas mountain ranges. We continue along the palm-fringed Ziz Valley, famous for date cultivation, to the Tafilalt oasis on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Our day ends in Erfoud, where beautiful views across the shimmering Sahara have made this a popular location with filmmakers.
Day 4: Erfoud – Merzouga dunes – Todra Gorge – Ouarzazate We‘ll get up very early this morning and head out by Jeep to the Merzouga dunes, the largest dunes in the world, part of the western Sahara, from where we‘ll view a fantastic desert sunrise (weather permitting), and then return to Erfoud for breakfast. After breakfast we travel to the Todra Gorge at the southern edge of the High Atlas Mountains. We’ll see some magnificent scenery, dotted with orchards and Berber villages. We‘ll examine how the locals store water for the long dry season. We will continue to Tinghir, one of the most beautiful oases in southern Morocco. Toward evening we‘ll arrive at the French-built regional city Ouarzazate. We’ll see the traditional villages and picturesque Kasbahs which are often used as backgrounds in the production of Hollywood movies
Day 5: Ouarzazate – Aït Benhaddou – Marrakesh Today we will Visit Aït Ben Haddou in the High Atlas Mountains. We will travel through the Tizi-n-Tichka Pass to Marrakesh – the ‘Red City’. Like many other former imperial cities in Morocco, Marrakesh is comprised of an old fortified city – the médina – and an adjacent modern city. Marrakesh is home to Morocco’s largest traditional market (‘souk’) where you might like to do some shopping. On arriving at our hotel, we will start preparing for Shabbat.
Day 6: Marrakesh After Shabbat services and lunch we‘ll take a walking tour.
In the evening, we’ll all go out to see “Fantasia” – a Berber folklore show.
Day 7: Marrakesh – Ourika valley (Jeep tour) – Marrakesh “The Red City” or the “Pearl of the South” are but two of the names given to Marrakesh – the most beautiful city in Morocco that lies at the foot of the Atlas Mountains. The city is divided in two: the new and the ancient. We’ll visit the Almanara Gardens and the city center with its lively markets. We’ll pass through the mellah, stop by the Koutoubia Mosque, and visit a Berber pharmacy and the Bahia Palace. We’ll visit a mellah where Jews no longer live, but where there is an ancient synagogue that is more than 500 years old. We’ll tour the “medina” – the market quarter of the city. The market is a mass of colors, voices and smells, a polyglot of all the treasures that exist in this country. The “medina” is divided according to type of product: an area for silver houses silversmiths and silver dealers, while gold is dealt in a different area, and rows upon rows of stalls sell leather, copper and jewelry. Then we will have a Jeep tour to Ourika, also known as ‘Valley of the Jews’, to enjoy the view of the red wild scenery and the picturesque villages among the mountains.
We‘ll return to Marrakesh for dinner and overnight.
Day 8: Marrakesh – Essaouira Today our sightseeing will begin in Essaouira, a former Portuguese Mogador stronghold. In the 18th century, the Alaouite Sultan Mohamed Ben Abdallah charged some prominent Jewish families to promote international trade from the port of Essaouira. Essaouira’s mellah covers over 10 percent of the town, but Jews constituted almost 40 percent of the population in the late 1880’s. Jewish stars on the doors to the mellah show the degree to which Jews were accepted in Essaouira, to the point that some of the richer Jews did not even live in the mellah. Commemorative plaques indicate the buildings in which synagogues were located. Former inhabitants of Essaouira, most of them Jewish, formed a committee to rehabilitate the town. The Jewish cemetery, just outside the city gates, is extremely well kept. Two historical synagogues, “Slat Rabbi Haןm Pinto and Slat Attias”. are to be renovated soon.
Dinner and overnight in Essaouira.
Day 9: Essaouira – Safi – Azemmour – Casablanca After breakfast, we travel to Safi and visit the mellah in the Northern part of the medina, the sanctuary of Oulad Ben Zmirou and the Portuguese fortress.
We will continue to Azemmour and explore the historic Kasbah and the attractive Jewish quarter. After the tour we will travel to Casablanca. Upon arrival we’ll take a panoramic tour of the city during which we’ll see the newer part of this North African metropolis, including the United Nations Square, renowned for the Neo-Moorish buildings that surround it, and for the fountain, which sprays water all around. From there we’ll head to the Great Mosque built half on land and half on water. Many of Morocco’s finest artists and artisans worked for many years to create this magnificent edifice. In fact, every Moroccan citizen donated funds for the project in one way or another to ensure that the project’s costs, which soared to over $800 million, would be covered. The mosque’s minaret rises to a height of 200 meters, and its central prayer hall can contain thousands of worshipers. This is a true architectural wonder. We’ll visit the new and old cities, the colorful bazaars and the promenade along the ocean.
Day 10: Casablanca – Rabat Today we will visit the capital of Rabat, where we’ll view the Tour Hassan, the yet to be completed mammoth mosque. Then it’s off to see the King’s Palace and the mausoleum of King Hassan V as well as numerous other important sites.
Free time for shopping and then drive back to Casablanca.
Day 11: Casablanca – Tel Aviv After breakfast, will have a tour of Casablanca including the Jewish museum, and then continue to The Hassan II Mosque.
If there’s time left, we’ll go shopping before transferring to the airport for our flight back home.
Price: $____ per person in a double room for AACI members Currency Converter
$_________ per person in a double room for non-AACI members
$________ Single supplement / Credit if not taking flights (Land only) $600
Price includes: Flights from Israel
10 night’s hotel accommodation
Kosher full board including provisions to make sandwiches for lunch
Local English-speaking guides in Fes and Marrakesh
Sightseeing, camel rides and other activities, and attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
Chez Ali show in Marrakesh (show and drinks)
Tips for driver, local guides, waiters
English-speaking tour leader from Israel
AACI staff escort
Water on the bus
Not Included: Drinks during the meals
Any other item not mentioned in “Included”