Located on a dead end street off the rue des Synagogues in the Beni Idir quarter of the Tangier medina, this synagogue was constructed in the 19th century by Moïse Nahon, a prominent educator and scholar from an influential Jewish family in Tangier. The synagogue ceased activity in the second half to the 20th century, and subsequently fell into disrepair until its restoration in 1994. It now functions as a museum.
The prayer room of the synagogue is accessible via a small courtyard at the end of the entrance corridor. The interior is elaborately decorated in an Andalusian style. Carved stucco walls are decorated with a repeating motif featuring ornamental embedded columns, trilobe arches, and arabesques with floral and geometric motifs. Perhaps most remarkable is the Arabic calligraphy repeated in three medallions vertically aligned below the superior lobe. Under this elaborate decoration, the lower portion of the wall is lined with rectangular, carved wood panels. The center of the prayer hall opens to a ceiling that is also elaborately decorated, with a large skylight in the center. The wooden ark and panels above it are decorated with Hebrew calligraphy. The carved wood lectern is on the southern side of the prayer area.
Wooden benches in the prayer area still bear brass plaques with family names. Ornate lamps are suspended throughout the synagogue and candelabras are placed on the wooden structures. The semi-circular windows above the entry portal and windows on each side feature a floral pattern in stained glass.
A stairway off the courtyard leads to an upstairs gallery that served as the hazara, or women's prayer area. There is no carved wood or stucco decoration on the walls of the second floor gallery. Instead, it is decorated with framed embroidery, tapestries, banners, and other artifacts donated by the Jewish community in Tangier.
--Michael A. Toler, Archnet Content Manager