Jewish cemetery in Fes, Morocco, North Africa

Getty Images

Jewish Cemetery


This area of thousands of blindingly white tombs, all freshly painted in 2019, was established in 1883. You'll find the tombs of a few notables, such as the 19th-century martyr Solica, venerated by Jews and Muslims alike, and assorted rabbis, though some have been reinterred in Israel. Entrance is on the northwest corner.

The blue-painted tomb belongs to Solica, also known as Sol Hachuel and Lalla Suleika, born in Tangier in 1817. The local governor is said to have offered her great wealth to convert, so that her beauty would be a credit to the Muslims – and then tortured her when she refused. She was transferred to Fez, where she was beheaded in 1834, at age 17. For her steadfastness, she is also venerated by Moroccan Muslim women. A black-and-white tomb with a large fireplace for burning candles (the Sephardic cemetery ritual) belongs to Rabbi Yehuda Ben Attar (1655–1733), who, the story goes, was imprisoned by the sultan in order to raise ransom money; the Jewish community had already been taxed to poverty, though, and the rabbi was thrown to the lions. When he began to pray, the lions sat quietly in a row, as if they were his students. The apparent miracle earned him his freedom and the sultan's apology. Longtime caretaker Edmond Gabay maintains a museum (borderline junk shop) in the old Em Habbanim school on the northeast edge; ask around for him if you'd like to see inside.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Fez attractions

1. Ben Danan Synagogue

0.12 MILES

Built in the 17th century to serve the megorashim (Jews descended from those expelled from Spain), this synagogue is trimmed in pretty herringbone green…

2. Rue des Mérinides

0.15 MILES

The most architecturally impressive street in the mellah (Jewish quarter) is Rue des Mérinides, lined with houses that are distinguished by their wooden…

3. Royal Palace

0.18 MILES

Unless you have a special invitation to the palace grounds, you'll have to settle for admiring its seven imposing front gates, surrounded by fine tilework…

4. Mellah


In 1438 Sultan Ar Rashid created Morocco's first official Jewish district, just east of the royal palace. At its peak, some 250,000 Jews lived in the area…

5. Borj Sidi Bounafae

0.28 MILES

After a large restoration, this tower, built in 1550, was awaiting official reopening in 2019. The view from the ramparts helps put Fez El Jdid in…

6. American Fondouk

0.32 MILES

This nonprofit organisation, established in 1927, is dedicated to giving the working donkeys, mules and horses of the Fez medina a better life, with…

7. Jnan Sbil

0.62 MILES

These lush gardens are a breath of fresh air after the intensity of Fez's medina, and a good walking route between Bab Bou Jeloud and the mellah (Jewish…

8. Bou Jeloud Square

0.78 MILES

This square on the edge of the medina comes alive at dusk, when locals emerge to stroll and chat. Concerts and a few storytellers sometimes pop up here,…