Synagogue Ibn Danan, Fes, Fez-Meknes Region, Morocco 

One of the oldest and most important synagogues in North Africa. Originally built and owned by a prominent Moroccan Jewish family in the mid-seventeenth century and renovated in its present form at the end of the nineteenth century. The structure, located in the hearth of the mellah (Jewish quarter) is a rare survivor of a pivotal time in Moroccan Jewish history.

The synagogue, still privately owned, contains perhaps the only complete set of Moroccan synagogue fittings in existence, including the reader’s wooden and wrought iron canopy platform – the tevah, on the west side, the twin wooden-carved Arks for the Torah – the hechal, built-in on the east side ornamented tiled wall. The wooden benches and chairs including Elija’s Chair (for the circumcision ceremony), the oil lamps and embroidered hangings.

Entrance to the synagogue is through an unobtrusive door to a small vestibule leading to a two-nave prayer hall divided by three octagonal piers. The floor is tiled in green and white glazed brick in a herringbone pattern. There were once numerous electric and oil-burning lamps, including memorial lamps, but these have somehow disappeared.

Epic Morocco Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

building Own or work here? Claim Now! Claim Now!