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Tanja Kasbah

Back in late January I needed a break from writing my book and figured doing something different was in store. The sun was out and temperature rising to around 70 degrees as I set out to walk the long flat route near the beach. Most of my meanderings had not been in the Kasbah, so I wanted to do that.

There had been some cold winds, but this moring was different, just fresh as I began the long trek in Tanja, Maroc (Tangier, Morooco). There was no rush, so stopped and stared at the sea a couple of times. My objective was twofold, to wander around the kasbah and get lost on purpose plus visit the over 200 year old synagogue there.
Up near the port are two entrances to the kasbah, this one and a larger one further on. Also known as the Medina, what used to be an area where a lot of people lived. When there decades ago it was all quite traditional, now it is a tourist trap. However there are still quite a few locals living there and I asked where the synagogue was. It took a while and a man showed me the rear of it, but to enter involved a typical twisting and turning down very narrow roads.
At the top center is where the Torah is kept. There are three of them present, so I assume previous rabbi's died, left their ones and the new rabbi brought his own.

A man greeted me at the door and held a sort of bowl with some Kippahs (AKA Yamaka) in. I placed it on my head and asked if I could take photographs. This synagogue is small and there are probaby a lot of others scattered around Tanja as the Jewish population is fairly large. Here the congregation will sit and I saw no separation where women would go. These are known as Sephardic Jews and they are scattered all over North Africa and the Middle East. Some of the Ashkenazi (European) Jews are the ultra-orthodox ones who dress in black, wearing wide brimmed hats and look like Roman Catholic priests. An examination of history will show all of them are actually Sephardic because the land of Israel is in the Middle East. The synagogue also has a small museum that's worth a look at, donate as much as you want.
Part of the ancient street market.

After spending a while in the synagogue, I left and just wandered the smaller streets of the kasbah, some are extremely narrow and like all such places getting totally lost takes about two minutes. Sort of near the center is an ancient market for the locals. It was there when I was here in 1972 and had been so for hundreds of years. You can buy all kinds of fruit and vegetables, some meat and a few other things. Some Berber women (wearing the large wide brimmed hats) were selling potatoes which are grown in rich soil and taste a lot better because of that, I bought a few. The women sit on the street floor, with their vegetables in front of them.

I continued my wander and at one stage stopped to chat with a man who remembered the English Hospital where I went to help in 1972. He knew Patricia and said how well the hospital treated the poor people of Tanja.
On the walk back I noticed the camels on the beach for tourists to ride and thought I'd grab a shot.

Sometimes it's nice to take stock of where you were and how far down the road you are now from that. The lessons learned, mistakes made, places you've been and people you've come in contact with.

A worthwhile day out.
Feb 21, 2024

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