The industry of local arts and crafts that goes on in the souk is highly regarded - industrious, talented, artistic and wide ranging in selection for the customer.
Shop for what you like, then you need to check for the quality, then be prepared for the haggling!
Though the shops off the main souk trails ie out the far back of the medina or the little shops around where the metal work is done can often be surprisingly cheaper than those in the thick of the tourist paths.
What to buy: from tiny candle holder or globe lamps to large and huge, stand alone lamps to those for positioning on a wall or hanging from a ceiling, to those made with leather or coloured glass. find what you really like and keep looking until youre in love with something or with such a range if you buy too soon you will be disappointed when you find something better in the next shop!
With leather lamps a strongly recommmended thing to do is apply some heat ie a match or ask the shop attendant to place an electric globe that can be switched on within the lamp to see if any obnoxious smells appear from the leather - poorly treated leather will stink!! which im sure youd not be happy to know when you got home to your country after all the trouble getting it there is endured!
Buying things can be a scary business if you are not used to the Moroccan custom of haggling!! I purchased a few souvenirs but I think I paid way over the proper price.
For example, we were led to a quite beautiful shop filled with lamps, Berber jewellery and other souvenirs hanging off the ceilings and walls. I wanted to buy a Moroccan lamp before I left Marrakesh. In the shop was one very unusual lamp which I fell in love with :-) I asked the price and was told 1600dh. This is over £100!!!! I was so shocked that all my powers of mental arithmetic deserted me. After a lot of stammering and sweating, I offered 400dh, which the salesman refused glumly. He pushed me up to 600dh, at which point he could not contain his eagerness to wrap my lamp and take my money :-) I found a small split in the lamp and managed to compromise at 500dh. He threw in two small silver bracelets as a goodwill gesture (they were quite nice). And they wrapped it in padding and plastic to within an inch of its life :-)
So I came away spending the equivalent of £33 on a dusty, split, camel skin lamp that would cost me extra in the UK to wire-up with a bulb.
Subsequently I found out that a friend had paid 170dh for one of the more normal triangular lamps (no bulb either). It was nowhere near as decorative *wink* but made in a similar way.
I think that Moroccan shopkeepers have developed a sixth sense and can spot a nervous, gullible western shopper and 'try it on'. In my case, I paid a fortune in Moroccan terms. But at least I had a rather unique souvenir :-)
What to buy: Two can play the haggling game. Practise your false 'that-is-FAR-too-expensive-I'm-not-interested' look so you can match the shopkeeper's 'that-is-far-too-little-try-harder' expression :-))
Especially if it is drawing towards the end of the tourist season I think you will achieve a more fair result that me.
Marrakesh shopkeepers are quite mischievous I think, and enjoy the drama of the haggling experience :-)
And I guess I had an 'experience' to remember. The shopkeeper and staff all spoke good English and gave us several glasses of the de menthe.
What to pay: Less than me for allah's sake ;-))
At the souk you will find thousands of wonderful lamps ... I love morocco lamp for the light they give to a room ... I have many lamps :)))
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