Tangier the capital of the Tétouan Region has a rich Jewish history due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures that conquered this area from the 5th century BC. Tangier sits at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. Visiting the Jewish Heritage sites of Tangier on a private one-day tour can serve as a rewarding way to discover Tangier and the Jewish History of Morocco. Whether you are visiting Tangier while at Port for a Shore Excursion or desire a Guided Experience from your hotel, there’s much to see in this cosmopolitan Moroccan city many often refer to as the “Bride of the North.”
The first Jews migrated to Tangier (once known as Tanja or Tingus) after the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem and settled among the Berbers.
The Moors and the Jews intermixed in Tangier, living peacefully side by side. In 1856, Tangier had become the largest port in Morocco. Alongside the Jewish community of Tangier flourished and established schools, hospitals, charitable works and businesses. By 1925 Jews were assigned three out of the twenty-six seats on the Legislative Assembly offering them significant political power. Post World War II, the Jews of Tangier enjoyed prosperous and cosmopolitan lives. The Jews of Tangier (and Moroccan Jews) were not affected by the war and offered protection by Mohammed V who referred to them as “Moroccans citzens.” At its peak in the 1940s, there were 22,000 Jews in Tangier and Morocco’s Jewish population exceeded 350 000. Today, there is a vibrant community in Morocco which counts approximately 2000 – 2500 Jews.
A Snapshot of Travel Exploration Morocco’s Tangier Jewish Heritage Tour, Shore Excursion & Guided Experience:
Visit the Moshe Nahon Synagogue in Tangier:
Behind a non descript door, located on Rue Synagogue in Tangier is the Moshe Nahon Synagogue. This last remaining operating synagogue in Tangier is monumental and lavish, ranking among one of the most beautiful synagogues in Morocco.
Chaar Rafael is one of the last surviving synagogues and remnants of Jewish Heritage in Tangier. Located on 27 Boulevard Pasteur in Tangier this Jewish owned villa was built in 1919, and it was converted to a synagogue in 1954 when the owner, Raphaël Bendriahm died.
The Jewish Cemetery in Tangier, referred to as the “old cemetery” has more then one-thousand graves, some of which date back to the 16th Century.