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Ibn Danan Synagogue

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Ibn Danan Synagogue


Basic Information

Location 34° 3′ 8.28″ N, 4° 59′ 31.92″ W
Country Morocco
City Fez

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 34.05227,-4.99277


The Ibn Danan Synagogue is a synagogue in Fez, Morocco, dating from the 17th century.


The synagogue was once one of several synagogues inside the city of Fez, and it was not an elaborate synagogue. It is entered through a simple doorway indistinguishable from the doors of nearby houses. The door leads immediately to a short flight of stairs that lead into the high, rectangular space of the synagogue. The room is lit by small windows high in the walls. Photos taken in 1954 show a ceiling hung with numerous memorial lamps, which have now vanished. The large Torah Ark, a cupboard filling the width of an entire wall, is made of carved wood. Opposite the Torah Ark is a raised alcove, separated from the main prayer space by a wooden screen elaborately carved with a series of arches. It was intended as a seating area for the congregations more distinguished members.

A very early restoration is known to have taken place in the 1870's. More recently, the Jewish community of Fez has also struggled for its preservation, and successfully nominated the building to the 1996 World Monuments Watch of the World Monuments Fund. According to the Fund, the plaster was peeling, the roofs were collapsing, the waterlogged beams were rotting, and windows were broken and missing. The organization helped restore the synagogue with funding from American Express and in collaboration with Morocco's Ministry of Culture and the Judeo-Moroccan Cultural Heritage Foundation. Following the restoration, the synagogue reopened in 1999.

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