Djamaa El Fna - Square, Marrakesh
Favorite thing: Marrakech is beautifully located against a backdrop of the Atlas Mountains and a classic traveller's hangout. Focal point of Marrakech is the Djemaa el Fna, the city's central square which becomes full of life after 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Foodstalls are popping up everywhere and local artists like snake charmers (see picture), jugglers, story tellers, acrobats and magicians take over the place.
Fondest memory: among the food-stalls at the Djmaa el Fna we found one that - every day - produced so much smoke, people eating there almost had tears in their eyes. however it was this stall where the benches were always full ...
A DAY AT DJEMA EL FNAA
7:00 am At Mic Mac Bakery (1) (by the Post Office) or at the many cafes in the Bab Agnaou Street (2) (a pedestrian street) you can have an early breakfast. If you wanna see the square awakening from a terrace, go to the Cafe Glacier (3).
9:00 am The first performers arrive: fortune tellers, orange juice sellers, henna women... Cross the Square to the Argana Cafe (4) and have a mint tea at the terrace. Buy a newspaper in the newsstand close to the CTM Hotel (5).
10:00 am Enter the Municipal Market (6) to see the rush in this moroccan food market, buy some oranges (real cheap).
11-13:00 Have an orange juice at one of the many stalls around (2,50 Dh). Wander around the souks, entering via the Souk Semmarine Street (7), the main long covered street of the the souks. If you get los (you will!), ask for the Djema el Fnaa Square, or just take a taxi back...
13:30 Lunch at a terrace (shade required), for instance in Cafe de France (8) or at the Residence de la Place(9), witha nice view of the Square at noon.
15-18:00 Back to the souks, bargain and wander.
18:30 Take a ride in a Horse-drawn carriage (10) now that the sun is down. 80 Dh for 1 hour, 50 Dh for 1/2 hour, 30 Dh for a quick ride.
19:00 The sunset is one of the main shows in Djema el Fnaa. The terraces (Cafe Glacier, Argana, Cafe de France...) get really crowded at 19, so go there in advance to take a place. The main performers start moving around, the square gets at its best!!
20:00 The many food stalls (11) in the center of the square are a wonderful animated place for dinner or, if you don't dare, just to walk around and have a look at the many different foods served there. Smoke and lights all around.
21:00 to midnightWalk around the square, look at the performers, bargain with the berbers that come to seel their goods at night. Relax and have a Mint Tea at one of the terraces, enjoy the show!!
You can take a look at some pics & portraits at the travelogue
Favorite thing: Place Jemaa el-Fna, wich means dead's gathering, nothing related to what this square becomes after sunset,infact hundreds of people there cooking, playing bongos, telling stories, playing with snakes, and whatever else can entertain tourists
Visit Djamaâ el Fna Square (this mean something like 'The Mosque in the Apocalypse square'). If You see a man selling water, watch him, pay him to make a photo, talk to him or to those who put snakes on Your shoulder... but try not to drink the water... pay them other way... unless You don't care... cause there are other important things in life...
Fondest memory: The Hotel... the dinner in the restaurant near Djamaâ el Fna Square with a pretty woman dancing for us...the 'Palais al Bahia'... the Koutobia library (I've seen it just from the outside)...the Manara garden... the snakes in my shoulders in Djamaâ el Fna...
go shopping for Moroccan rugs here at Djema el-Fna Square.
Don't worry... This place is always open. Any time of day is the right time to go. Of course, if you're heading this way at night, do be extra careful. The bustling Djema el-Fna Square has always been the heart of life here in Marrakech.
Psss, don't forget to BARGAIN when you're buying one of these Moroccan rugs! In fact, don't forget to BARGAIN when buying anything here.... :-)
That's me shopping for rugs here at Djema el-Fna Square. So many choices... how?!
These rugs don't come cheap incidentally... Yes, even after an intensed bargaining session. Sigh... The cheapest rug that I liked costs a cool US$500 (gulp!). Forget it. I'd live without rugs in my bedroom.... It's just too expensive.... and maybe I'm just an 'el cheapo' by nature, ya know? :-)
If you managed to find a rug that you like, I suggest that you carry it along with you... rather than have the shop SHIP it back to your home country. Why? I have heard enough horror stories where customers received rugs that they didn't choose i.e. the rugs that arrived were of poorer quality. Anyway, don't let these horror stories discourage you from buying, O.K.?
Just take it all in. Marrakesh will bombard your senses and that's a good thing. The huge Djemaa el Fna pulsates with life day and night. The energy even astounded two big city girls. My friend and I gave up any ideas of blending in and being low-key and just accepted the hoots and hollars all around us. It seemed all in good fun and anyway, the combo of her red hair and my Asian face seemed just too much to take...so, we called oursleves the Freak Show and enjoyed our brief celebrity status...
Fondest memory: Travel is about experiencing new things and taking it all in and that's what I got throughout my stay in Marrakesh. Sitting in a cafe on the terrace (with lots of other tourists), smelling mint tea (wasn't drinking any at the time, but the table was covered in it), watching the scene of Djemaa el Fna as the sun set, listening to the call to prayer, and asking my new Moroccan friends about the Arabic language. Now that's something I don't experience at home!
This is, believe it or not, one of the largest open air markets you'll ever lay your eye's on. We have a penchant for these kinds of markets but look at this one carefully, it is enormously large.
As you move along, you begin to realize that every other person is selling what you just saw two spots back, enormous duplication. What a way to make a living.
Visiting the Jama El Fna square, unique in the world.
eating diner in the Jama El Fna restaurants (about 40 mobile restaurants on the place).
visiting the great historical monuments : Badia, Bahia palaces, Saadiens groves, Ben Youssef College...etc.
Tour of the city in a horse car.
visitin the Gardens : Majorelle, Agdal, Koutoubia, My Abdessalam.
Horse riding spectacl.
Fondest memory: Seeing al the spectacles in Jama El Fna square.
Sorry about the quality of this picture. They were developed in Morocco and after i didn't treat it properly.
Some man pulling a car on the main square.
Favorite thing: Cutobia ahead. Orange sellers on the right. Great orange juice. Go to number 6. Hassan is so nice! always with a smile.
Favorite thing: As everyone else says, visit Djemaa el-Fna Square! Both in the day and the night it is filled with people, and there are lots of things to see.