Morocco to Renovate the Jewish Quarter of Marrakech

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Rabat – In an effort to support cultural heritage and sustainable tourism development, Moroccan authorities have launched a conservation plan for the ancient medina of Marrakech.The conservation plan, which will be jointly financed by the Ministry of Housing and the Urban district of Marrakec, will cost an estimated MAD316 million, according to L’Economiste.The project includes renovating fondouks in the ancient medina, the Jewish quarter known as the Mellah, as well as public squares and reconstruction of buildings and neighborhoods. The rehabilitation of the Jewish quarter, once inhabited by Jewish communities who mixed with the locals and later by Sephardic Jews who escaped persecution in Spain, will cost an estimated MAD194 million. It was built in the sixteenth century under the reign of Moulay Abdallah.Since the establishment of the State of Israel, most Jews have emigrated and left their homes, trading booths and shops. Nowadays Mellahs in Marrakech and across the kingdom are inhabited by Muslims and they have become historical places for tourists to visit while in Morocco.Spreading over 16 hectares, the Mellah in the ancient medina of Marrakech is surrounded by fortified high walls that used to separate the Jewish and Muslim communities.Authorities are also planning to undertake safeguarding actions regarding houses threatened with collapse, the rehabilitation of around sixty houses and the demolishing of another twenty.The conservation plan will also compensate residential owners and occupiers in the Jewish quarter who will be affected by property demolition and construction work.

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