Tangier Jewish Heritage Tour, Shore Excursions & Guided Experiences

Tangier Jewish Heritage Tour, Synagogue

Tangier Jewish Heritage Tour

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.

Jews of Tangier were later met by a second wave of migration from the Jews living in the Iberian Peninsula during the 1492 Alhambra Decree. During this time the Jews were expelled Spain and Portugal. This second wave of immigration changed Moroccan jewry, as they largely embraced the Andalusian Sephardic liturgy, creating a population of Moroccan Jews that gained a primarily Sephardic identity.
Tangier Historic Jewish Post Card, Jewish Cemetery

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.

Tangier Jewish Woman, Historic Painting

A Snapshot of Travel Exploration Morocco’s  Tangier Jewish Heritage Tour, Shore Excursion & Guided Experience:

►Tangier Arrival. Pick Up at Tangier Med Ferry Port, Airport or at your Hotel.
►On this Tangier Jewish Heritage Tour you will start your morning off visiting Tangier’s Jewish Sacred sites and then continue seeing the highlights of old Tangier. The synagogues, cemeteries, monuments and communal institutions of Tangier show how important the city has been to the Jewish community during the past centuries.

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.

Next Visit Chaar Rafael Synagogue:
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.
Tangier Jewish Cemetery:
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.
►Explore the vantage point of the Colline de Bella-Vista. Then, drive to see the Grand Socco, a popular nighttime square close to the Mosque of Sidi Bou Abib and the link between Ville Nouvelle and the medina.
► Visit the American Legation Museum, located in the oldest American consulate in continuous use.
►Next, visit the old medina, enter the medina at Rue Es-Siaghinie, the busiest part of this Roman medina lined with cafes and bazaars, a Spanish church, jewelers’ shops and an arts center displaying works depicting Tangier’s social history. Walk Petit Socco which was once the heart of the medina where businessmen and bankers frequented cafes, hotels, casinos and cabarets that have relocated to Ville Nouvelle.
Lunch Recommendations: El Morocco Club, Le Saveur du Poisson or Traditional Moroccan lunch in the city center.
►Explore the Caves of Hercules (Grottos) and Cap Spartel, a majestic part of Tangier and one not often seen by those passing through.
►Visit Cape Spartel is northernmost point of mainland Africa.
►In the late afternoon, take a break and experience Tangier’s cafe scene at the Cafe de Paris, a popular meeting place for Tangier residents, a former favorite of Paul Bowles and other famous foreigners.
►Transfer to Airport, Ferry Port or your Hotel. Your Travel Exploration Tour ends here.