Just outside the city walls of Rabat is another walled city, the Chellah, where Jews are believed to have lived during the time of the Phoenicians. Rabat’s Archeological Museum has a strong focus on the Roman town of Volubilis and displays a Jewish lamp found at the site.
The unfinished Tour Hassan Mosque is the counterpart of Marrakesh’s Koutoubia Mosque and the Giralda Cathedral in Seville, Spain, all of which were built by the Almohad Dynasty, the twelfth century persecutors of the Jewish people. Adjoining the Tour Hassan is the Mausoleum of King Mohammed V, which has become a pilgrimage site for Jews, who cannot forget his efforts to defend them against the anti-Semitic policies of the French Vichy Government.
The near-by mellah has a beautiful synagogue just inside its gates, while the main synagogue is found a few blocks onward in the New City. The Oudayas Kasbah was the home of the Salé pirates, some of whom were Portuguese Christians whose families converted from Judaism during the Inquisition. The Oudayas Museum has a display of traditional Moroccan clothing, including a Jewish wedding costume.
Rabat’s old Jewish cemetery has tombstones with inscriptions in Hebrew, French and Spanish. Important saints include Eliezer de Avila and Chalom Zaoui. A few kilometers North of Rabat, the Belghazi museum has opened, near the Plage des Nations beach. It features a large collection of Moroccan Judaica.