The Lazama Synagogue: A Hidden Gem of Marrakech

1517381_10153876106016518_2601229758644054135_n

It might come as a surprise to many that Morocco actually has a very rich Jewish history. The Lazama Synagogue, located in the mellah (old Jewish quarter) is one of two synagogues which can be found in Marrakech. It’s a building which dates back to the 16th century.

1915425_10153876105911518_7330272193623620360_n

It’s not hard to spot that the vibrant blue of the tiles and paint of the Lazama Synagogue. Compared to the synagogues I’ve seen around the UK, it’s very unusual in the sense that it’s actually a riad, a building which follows typical Moroccan style where it turns inwards and surrounds a courtyard garden. The name Lazama is taken from “Al Azma“, which refers to “those (Jews) who ran away” from Spain.

887253_10153876106046518_1857114745277874481_o

Kati Roumani, the lady in the photo below, is an anthropologist from London who works as a guide at the Lazama Synagogue. Considering we are both Londoners, it’s ironic we met in Marrakech of all places, instead of the streets of London. She also happened to know a rabbi I worked with just recently. When I asked her if I could take her photograph, she replied that I should take one of her daughter instead who was more beautiful. But the warmth radiating from her when she welcomed this weary traveler to the synagogue meant I thought she was a wonderful lady inside and out, whatever she said.

As cliché as this is going to sound, the world really is a small place.

3734_10153876105861518_6655016509159619896_n

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The Lazama Synagogue: A Hidden Gem of Marrakech

  1. Hi! I am going to Marrakech for a few days in February. Your blog has some v. interesting places. I came across it looking up info for the Lazama Synagogue. Would you have any places that you recommend that are off the beaten path/unique and could give locations? The table maker looks v. interesting.
    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi!

      Thanks for your question. I’m glad my blog has been of some use to you.

      The artist you’re referring to, he’s based about a 10-15 minute walk from Jama El Fna. If you walk down the main road it’s literally right at the corner. It’s called the Ensemble Artisanal, and the artist whose work I photographed is based in one of the shops inside on the left hand side of the market area.

      There’s a second synagogue in Marrakech too, but I’ve heard the Lazama synagogue is the only one that’s actually in use. Plus the lady who works there, Katherine Roumani is definitely worth speaking to. She’s very knowledgeable and quite lovely.

      There’s a cafe near Jama El Fna which hosts live music (the oud specifically) and traditional oral story telling events. Sadly I didn’t get a chance to visit but you should go if you can!

      If you like street art, there’s plenty to see on Ouhat Sidi Brahim. I’ve posted some photos of what I saw there so have a look.

      Definitely head out of Marrakech for a day trip to visit the coastal city of Essaouira. It’ll only cost you about £20 at most if you can haggle a good price, and it’s about 2 hrs 30 mins away each way. Enjoy your trip and hope this is of some help!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s