Jews in Morocco

the mellah, the Jewish neighborhood of Fez

the mellah, the Jewish neighborhood of Fez

Jews have lived in Morocco for thousands of years, at least since the 6th-century BCE, after the Babylonian Exile of the Jews from Israel. In the 1st century, after Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70CE, many Jews fled to Morocco. Their numbers increased significantly after the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, as part of the Spanish Inquisition.

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NAME THAT COUNTRY

 

The blue men of the Sahara get their name from the blue robes and scarves that they traditionally wear. They are Tuareg, an ethnic group of the native Amazigh or Berber. About 2 million Tuareg live in the Sahara region today. The largest populations are in Niger and Mali, with a relatively small number in our mystery country.

The Tuareg are traditionally semi-nomadic traders, moving goods across the Sahara Desert to Mediterranean and Atlantic ports. They also carried enslaved people from West Africa to coastal markets and kept slaves themselves well into the 20th century. Slavery is still practiced in some communities.

Tuareg society is matrilineal and women generally have more autonomy and power relative to other Arab communities. Traditionally, Tuareg men veil their faces and women do not.

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NAME THAT COUNTRY

 

The Draa River in the south of our mystery country is the country’s longest river, originating in the High Atlas Mountains and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean, although much of the year the river runs dry along 2/3rds or more of its length. The scenic river valley is punctuated with dense palm groves and historically was a major trading route for merchant caravans traveling from sub-Saharan Africa to the markets of Marrakech and Fez. To control this important passage, fortified towns or kasbahs were established along the route, some of which are still populated today.

Can you name that country? 
See below for answers.

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Rock the Kasbah at Ait Ben Haddou, Morocco

Ksar Ait Ben Haddou, near Ouarzazate, Morocco

Ksar Ait Ben Haddou, near Ouarzazate, Morocco

Click to see tours that include visits to Ait Ben Haddou.

About a 30-minute drive from Ouarzazate, Morocco, or a long day-trip from Marrakech, Ait Ben Haddou is a fortified village (ksar) in south-central Morocco. It’s only one of many ksars built by the indigenous Amazighen (Berbers) in the area, but, thanks to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a setting for a long list of Hollywood films, this ksar, unlike its fellows, is well preserved. It sits in the southern foothills of the High Atlas Mountains on the old trade route between the Sahara desert and Marrakech. Continue reading

Foto Friday Favs

Happy Friday! Behold some of our favorite images from past Foto Fridays ~

Havana, Cuba, photo by Jason Hedrick

Havana, Cuba, photo by Jason Hedrick

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

Sur, Oman

Sur, Oman

Havana, Cuba, photo courtesy of Jason Hedrick

Havana, Cuba, photo courtesy of Jason Hedrick

Mt. Nebo, Jordan

Mt. Nebo, Jordan

Fez, Morocco

Fez, Morocco

camelboy in the desert of northern Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

camelboy in the desert of northern Oman, photo by Sallie Volotzky

Trinidad de Cuba, photo by Steve Sherwood

Trinidad de Cuba, photo by Steve Sherwood

Bodrum, Turkey, photo by Sue Alstedt

Bodrum, Turkey, photo by Sue Alstedt

Fez, Morocco

Fez, Morocco