Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online

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Beginning in the 15th century, at the behest of the authorities in Morocco, separate, walled town quarters were built where Jews had to settle. These quarters, called mellah, were part of the differentiated topography of Moroccan cities and an expression of the complex relations between Jews and Muslims. While they primarily provided segregation and protection for the Jewish population, their boundaries were often permeable and enabled social interaction. Most mellahs were abandoned by the Jews with the establishment of the French Protectorate at the beginning of the 20th century.


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Benichou Gottreich, Emily, “Mellah”, in: Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture Online, Original German Language Edition: Enzyklopädie Jüdischer Geschichte und Kultur. Im Auftrag der Sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig herausgegeben von Dan Diner. © J.B. Metzler, Stuttgart/Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland 2011–2017. Consulted online on 02 April 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2468-8894_ejhc_COM_0532>
First published online: 2017
First print edition: 20210312

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