It’s Good To Be King

I am told that in every big city in Morocco there is a royal palace. I tell you, it’s good to be King. Fes is no exception to this royalty real estate bonus,

and while I am allowed to get close enough to some of the doors,

one of the guards nicely asks me to erase the picture I take of the door he is guarding.

Not too far from the palace is the mellah, or Jewish quarter. It is here in Fes that you can find Morocco’s first official mellah founded in 1438. In 1465 a rebel attack proved fatal to many of this mellah’s inhabitants, and by the early 19th century the mellah came to symbolize segragation of the worst kind, then with the affluent Jews moving into other parts of the city, the mellah was mainly left to the elderly or poor. One of my guides tells me that the Jewish population has dwindled in Fes due to the migration to other parts of the world. Today there are shops (gold, food, and furniture stores) lining the streets of the mellah, marked by what the locals term Spanish architecture (note the brown windows):

Many tourists wander through the mellah looking for the synagogue. And if you’re looking for a great huge structure you’ll never find it. Down a blind corner through an unimposing door, you can pay a few dirhams to gain entry:

Up on the synagogue’s rooftop, you can peer into the Jewish cemetery:

Tomorrow I’ll take you to two of my favorite experiences in Morocco and then I’m back on the road.


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