The Untold Stories of the Jewish Quarter of Essaouira

The Jewish Quarter of Essaouira, Morocco, was once a bustling port town and the thriving heart of a large Jewish community. Today, though it remains a pilgrimage site for many former residents and descendants of Moroccan Jews, its built heritage is in need of repair and protection. The quarter was included on the 2018 World Monuments Watch to encourage interpretation of the site as a symbol of the peaceful coexistence between religions.

In 2019, WMF partners Yousef El Miadi and Laura Brandt set out to research the remaining built heritage of the “Mellah” and capture oral histories about the pluralistic symbol of Moroccan culture.

Journey through the streets of Essaouira to discover its past, present, and future, as told through the lens of former and current community members.

What It Was

A Pluralistic Community

Locals describe growing up in the Mellah, before the mass migration of the Jewish community.
Who Left

Ongoing Significance to the Jewish Community

A local initiative aims to revitalize Essaouira as a major tourism destination.
Who Remains

Enduring Legacy of the Jewish Community

For those who remain in the Mellah, the significance of intangible cultural heritage persists.

A Walk Through the Mellah

Join us as we take a brief tour down Rue Mellah in the Jewish Quarter of Essaouira.
A special thanks to the generous support provided by the David Berg Foundation and to the many generous donors who support our Jewish Heritage Program and Endowment for making documentation of this special place possible.

World Monuments Fund collaborated with Diarna on the web exhibit Mapping of the Mellah of Essaouira, available on