Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has inaugurated a $1.5 million center dedicated to Jewish culture in the city of Essaouira. It was called Bayt Al-Thakira, which means House of Memory in Arabic and inaugurated by the Moroccan King last week.
The centre is located in a restored home that houses a small synagogue and includes a museum, research centre and space that will host cultural events. The project was created by the France-educated Moroccan Jew, Andre Azoulay, who serves as a senior adviser to the king.
Most of the funding came from the Moroccan government, with a quarter coming from private donors.
The port city was formerly home to a large population of Jews, who at one point making up 40 percent of the Moroccan population. Most Jews fled Morocco because of the hostility they felt following the establishment of Israel in 1948 and in decades after. Today less than a handful of Jews reside in Essaouira.
Under King Mohammed VI, Morocco has made efforts to preserve Jewish sites across the country.