Casablanca | Rabat | Meknes | Volubilis | Fez | Marrakech
Day 1: Arrival in Casablanca
Arrival in Casablanca Airport. After passing through customs and collecting your luggage, you will be met by your English-speaking driver.
Upon arrival, get ready to be mesmerized by a picturesque tour of Casablanca. This city is the chief port, the financial, commercial, and manufacturing center of the country. A modern city with office buildings and big-city traffic, it will not remind you of the eponymous film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman! The population has grown from approximately 20,000 in the early 1900s to more than four million today (including the suburbs) and is the largest city in Africa. Continue to the Museum of Moroccan Judaism in Casablanca, a private museum of history and ethnography. Created by the Jewish Community of Casablanca in 1977, it is equipped with international standards of security and conservation that allow it to host the national and international collections. The Museum of Moroccan Judaism is designed to collect and exhibit any object of worship, ethnographic or artistic, that can evoke the history, religion, traditions, or daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization. The tour continues with a visit to the great Hassan II Mosque (outside), a real masterpiece of Moroccan architecture, situated on the edge of the Atlantic in the easternmost point of Morocco. Designed by the French architect Michel Pinseau, begun in 1980 and completed in 1993, the mosque is the second largest religious edifice in the world (after Mecca) and has the tallest minaret at 689 feet. It can accommodate 25,000 worshipers inside, and an additional 80,000 in the courtyard perimeter. Built on reclaimed land, almost half the surface lies over the Atlantic. King Hassan II was inspired by a verse of the Koran which states, “the throne of God was built upon the water.” Although traditional in design and decoration, the mosque also has some very modern features such as an area of glass floor so that when the worshippers kneel above it, they can view the sea below. Also built to withstand earthquakes, the mosque has heated floors, electric doors, and a retractable roof. Afterward, drive along the wide boulevards, United Nations Square, the residential area of Anfa and Ain Diab.
Day 2: Casablanca | Rabat
After breakfast, check out from your hotel and get ready to embark on a journey to Rabat, an hour’s drive. Upon arrival, begin a city tour of Rabat. Visit the Jewish quarter with its narrow lanes and colorful courtyards, the near-by Mellah has a beautiful synagogue just inside its gates, while the main synagogue is found a few blocks away in the New City. You will visit the private Belghazi Museum. Three generations of the Belghazi family have amassed a vast collection of traditional Moroccan pieces, consisting of Andalusia, Jewish, and Islamic arts and crafts.
The well-designed city consists of broad, tree-lined avenues, a landscaped central park, and impressive quarters for the foreign embassies and ministries. See the Kasbah of the Oudayas, and visit the unfinished Hassan Tower and Mosque, and the distinctive and elegant Mausoleum of Mohammed V, revered former King and grandfather of the present King Mohammed VI.
Afterwards, check in to your hotel for overnight in Rabat (B).
Day 3: Rabat | Meknes | Volubilis | Fes
After a sumptuous breakfast at your hotel depart to Fes via the Imperial City of Meknes. Located in the center of a rich agricultural region where olives, grain, vegetables, and grapes are grown, the history goes back to the 8th century, when it was developed as a hilltop kasbah. But perhaps the most interesting part of its history started in 1666 when Sultan Moulay Rachid appointed his brother Moulay Ismail as the Pasha of Meknes. When Rachid died in 1672, Ismail succeeded to the throne and was determined to make Meknes the new capital. The tour continues to a visit of Meknes – known as “Moroccan Versailles “and founded at the end of the 17th Century by Moulay Ismail, where the Jewish presence is evidenced by Hebraic epitaphs dating from the Christian era as well as Greek inscriptions that still appear in local Synagogues. You may wish to visit the aging Talmud Torah in the Jewish Quarter and the new Mellah. Visit the tomb of Rabbi David Benmidan, who was the “Patron of Meknes,” and is another pilgrimage shrine. In the new Mellah there are 11 synagogues of which eight are still in use today. Stop at the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis. (B)
Day 4: Fes
After breakfast at the hotel, enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Fes.
Fes, founded in the 8th century, is arguably Morocco’s most fascinating city. This metropolis, set in a valley, was Morocco’s first capital, and is today the kingdom’s intellectual, religious, and cultural center. The university here is one of the oldest in the world, and the city’s handicrafts are admirable (look for handmade items like rugs, fabrics, ceramics, leather goods, as well as copper, brass, and silver pieces). Fes street life in the medina may be the most memorable you’ll ever experience. The souks in the medina are an open-air department store, with the spice shops next to the carpet sellers, across from the fishmonger. This is the hub of Moroccan life, filled with vitality. Tour highlights include the Mellah with all its Synagogues. This picturesque neighborhood adjoins the Royal Palace, noted for its recently constructed bright brass doors. Jews took shelter in this palace during the 1912 pogrom. The nearby cemetery contains the tombs of more Jewish saints than any other cemetery in Morocco.
One of the more important saints is Lalla Solica. The Synagogue of Roben Ben Sadou, built in the 1920’s, is decorated with exquisite plaster carving reminiscent of the decoration of traditional mosques and medersas. Visit the recently restored Iben Danan synagogue. Continue to the monuments and historical sites of the ancient medina for a walking tour to the Karaouine Mosque and University. You will visit the Bouanania and the Attarine Medersas constructed in the early 14th century by the Merinides. At the center of the square stands the Nejjarine fountain, which is completely decorated with tiles. They are considered the finest examples of geometric ornamentation in the city. Behind is the Nejjarine Museum, dedicated with the extraordinary woodwork and carpentry of the artisans of Fes. You can have an optional lunch at a Moroccan palace-style restaurant within the medina (your driver and/or guide will know of a few good ones).
In the afternoon visit the various markets of the souks and the tanneries with time for shopping. (B)
Day 5: Fes | Marrakech
After breakfast at your hotel, depart to Marrakech about 500 kms via the Berber villages and towns, namely Immouzer and Ifrane, a delightful ski resort well known for its wood carving. Reach Beni Mellal through the mountainous regions and have an optional lunch. Continue to journey to Marrakech, which is about a 2-hour drive. (B)
Day 6: Marrakech
After breakfast, embark on a full-day city tour of Marrakech to discover its rich Jewish heritage along with historical monuments of the city. Our tour will include the former and current synagogues within the Mellah and nearby an original Jewish cemetery, several centuries old. The cemetery is now below ground level, completely covered, and hidden by a second “generation” (level) of graves. The current cemetery, at ground level, dates back 200 to 300 years. This tour also includes tombs of the Saadi rulers, outstanding examples of Moorish art, and the defining landmark of Marrakech—the 12th-century tiled minaret of the Koutoubia, which dominates the ancient Medina.
Marrakech’s prestigious past is evoked as well by historical monuments, which have survived intact in their splendor, with brilliant mosaics, carved woodwork, and gorgeous marbles. These can be found in Bahia Palace. Optional lunch at a local restaurant. Upon arrival, you’ll be mesmerized by the magic Medina where we discover the souks, craft markets, wool-dyer’s quarters and legendary Djemaa-El-Fna Square—the beating heart of the city. Dive deep into the soup of fantastic sights and smells of Moroccan folklore! Day and night, the excitement is palpable. Here come the snake-charmers, storytellers, fortune-tellers, potion vendors, Gnaoua musicians, henna artists, monkey performers, acrobats, and transvestite dancers. The magic of Djemaa-El-Fna Square will live in your memory forever! (B)
Day 7: Marrakech
Marrakech is known for its incredible gardens which provide an oasis of peace away from the bustle of the souks.
This tour will take you in a horse-drawn carriage (optional) to visit Menara Gardens and Majorelle Gardens. Lying in the shadow of the Atlas Mountains, the tranquil Menara Gardens are one of the most famous images of Marrakech. The Majorelle Gardens were designed by painter and botanist Jacques Majorelle. These private gardens are owned by the French fashion house Yves St. Laurent. The garden has a huge variety of cacti and other flora. A horse and carriage provide the perfect way to explore these peaceful gardens
Afternoon at leisure to discover the red city on your own or transfer for an optional dinner at Impressive restaurant Darmoha.ma. This restaurant in Marrakech, which was once the residence of the famous stylist and designer Pierre Balmain offers oriental cuisine in a setting that combines authenticity and modernity.
This restaurant takes care to offer gourmands and connoisseurs pleasure to taste fresh, light and creative dishes. (B)
Day 8: Depart Marrakech
After breakfast at your hotel, day is at leisure until your transfer to the airport and flight back home with tons of memories. (B)
|Rabat||1||Sofitel Jardins Des Roses|