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Ifran of the Anti Atlas, the most ancient Jewish community in Morocco

It is one of the unknown jewels of Morocco. A Jewish city dating from more than 5 centuries before Christ, hidden in the heights of the Anti Atlas. Its richness is varied and makes it attractive to many explorers and treasure hunters.

First, its soil is extremely rich in precious metals. There were several mines throughout history, that made the wealth of local people back then, and that attracts now many treasure hunters.

It always has been an oasis very popular among the merchants of the trans-Saharan road that goes to Timbuktu in Somalia. Many settled here to pursue wealth, but also for its water rich in minerals. Its multiple sources and wells make agriculture thrive in Ifran. This mineral wealth has given birth to red marble, one of the rarest and most expensive in the world. Indeed, experts date these large smooth and majestic rocks to more than 540 million years before our era.

But that's not all. Ifran, which means caves in Berber, is known for these multiple cavities that have served as home to ancient populations but also as safes. Indeed they are hundreds, of which many have been buried. History tells us that merchants stocked their gold in there, hence the region's strong appeal for treasure hunters.

Then, long called the little Jerusalem, Ifran hosted the oldest Jewish community in Africa. The Jews of Ifran claim that their ancestors came from Palestine by the Saharan border, at the time of Nebuchadnezzar. They would have long lived in troglodytes before building a city of their own.

Although little remains of it, we clearly see traces of what life was like: Palm grove, olive trees, and millenary Kasbahs. One can still visit the remains of the synagogue and the old cemetery where gravestones can still be read, and some of them date back 500 years before Christ.

Unfortunately, these are the only remains. All the Jewish rolls of parchment (sifer) were looted and burned, some less than half a century ago.

Rabbi travelers tell, throughout Morocco, that several Jewish saints are buried in here.


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