Al-Mallah | The Jewish quarter in Marrakech, Morocco
Al-Mallah is the name given to the Jewish towns in the Moroccan ancient cities such as Rabat and Sale, Fez, Meknes, Marrakesh, Casablanca, and Essaouira. Fez was actually the first officially Moroccan city where there was a Jewish town.
After the Jews expelled from Spain, they arrived to Morocco to get protection. In exchange for the taxes that they had to pay to the Sultan, this latter decided to let them build their own quarter or town within an area where salt was collected and stored to be exported, and this is where the name "Al-Mallah" came from, which means Salt quarter in Arabic.
Some high educated Jews worked as advisors of Moulay Abdallah, in the era of the Saadian dynasty, who moved the imperial capital to Marrakech and allowed the Jews to be installed in the city in 1558 in a walled quarter "Al-Mallah" with two gates guarded by the soldiers of the Sultan. Within this quarter, the Jews had their own market , synagogue, and cemetery.
To enter the walled Al-Mallah, you will have to cross one of the two entrance gates ... And there you are: around, you will discover the spice souk with its varied colors and scents, the jewelry souk with an auction at 4.30 p.m., the fabric souk with all kinds of fabrics, a historic atmosphere reminiscent of old wooden buildings, the tinsmith's place where artisans produce atypical tin objects in their old traditional crafts, and the two synagogues Neguidim and Alzama.
In Marrakech, the Jewish Mallah is located next is the souk of jewelers, right in front of the “Kisaria” which is a famous covered market in Marrakech. The Jewish population of Marrakech reached 20,000 people before the existence of the Israel . Today only about three hundred Jews remain in Marrakech because the majority left to Israel in the fifties.
Today, The Mallah is composed mainly of Muslims, but the culture and the Jewish imprints are intact. It is rumored that the Mallah is the place where you find the "best offers" in the city ... go take a look!