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Place Djemaa El-Fna Square in Marrakech

Jun 8th, 2011 | By | Category: Sights

Place Djemaa El-Fna Square in Marrakech

What can i say about Djemaa el Fna, is wild, loud, and in your face, the world famous square and market place in the ancient wall of the Marrakech’s medina quarter. Ranked #2 of 110 things to do in Marrakesh by Lonely Planet travellers, the origin of it’s name remains unknown, it means ‘assembly of the dead’ in Arabic, but as the word djemaa also means mosque in Arabic, it could also mean place of the vanished mosque, in reference to a destroyed Almoravid mosque.

The square is the highlight of any visit to Marrakech, used equally by locals and tourists. During the day it is mostly occupied by orange juice stalls, youths with chained Barbary apes, water sellers in colourful costumes with traditional leather water-bags and brass cups, and snake charmers who will pose for photographs for tourists. Musicians, dancers, and story tellers pack the square at the heart of the medina, filling it with a cacophony of drum beats and excited shouts. As the day progresses the entertainment on offer change. The snake charmers depart and in the afternoon and evening the square becomes more crowded with Chleuh dancing boys and storytellers telling their tales in Berber or Arabic to an audience of appreciative locals. There are also magicians and peddlers of traditional medicines. As dark descends the square fills with dozens of food-stalls and the crowds are at their height.

The Koutoubia Mosque right beside Djemaa El Fna is named after the bookseller’s market that used to be located there. At night the mosque is beautifully lit.

The souks or markets of Marrakech just adjacent to Djemaa El Fna are where you can buy almost anything, from spices to shoes, jalabas to kaftans, tea pots to tagines often over glass after glass of what might be considered the national very sweet drink–hot mint tea.

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  1. We just came back from Marrakech, and I can honestly say I don’t like it at all because of how people treat you. People milk you wherever they can to get in your pocket.

    Every second guy comes up to you to be a ”guide” and ask you if you want to go somewhere. We learned the hard way, and even after 2 hours of walking, the ”guide” did not know where he was going but we still had to pay him alot of money. I don’t mind paying people money if they help me, but to hassle you and demand your money for nothing is another matter.

    What they are good at is to lure you in, then nail you. Be very careful, because you lose money quickly.

    Other people just walk up to you and demand pictures. Be careful, because you pay BIG money for it in the end! The amount of people in the photo’s also counts for them, so they demand payment for every person in their team….!

    We went to the snake charmers in the square, and we made an agreement of 20 Dirham. Fine. Then we started taking pictures and the guy puts the snake round our necks. No problem. When we finished he said 200 Dirham please. I said, no mate, we made an agreement sorry. Then his other mates came and demanded 300. I laughed at first, but after a huge argument my wife stepped in and gave them the money which made me even more angry…Anyways, it left us without money and an argument between us. Not good! So please make sure what you agree for what before you do anything or rather stay away!

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