Also surrounding the square are numerous stalls selling orange juice and dried fruits ... these guys are less aggressive since they work by themselves and can't leave the stalls to chase you ..... many will let you try 1 piece of dried fruit, but of course if you try more than 1 your buying it !!!!!!!!
We weren't interested in dried fruits but I wanted to try the orange juice ..... and WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this was the best I have had anywhere in the world !!!!!! it was amazing and cheap .... a large glass for 4 dirhams $.50 US cents ..... it was sooooooooo good that I had 5 glasses of it even though I wasn't thirsty !!!!! it was soooo good that I just kept drinking it !!!!!! the vendor made the glasses right in front of me !!!!!!!!!
The vendor was real nice and even allowed me to take a photo behind his booth !!!!!! for a change he wasn't aggressive ......
A MUST DO !!!!!!!!!! too bad they don't sell it by the gallons, because I would have bought some .... I'm sure if you had a container they would sell it to you !!!! so come prepared because it's that good !!!!!!!
One of the facts in being Marrakech is the constant touts trying to get you to either buy something in there store or trying to be friendly just to try to take you to a store where they get commission for items ......
Same thing applies to the square at night .... 4 rows of food stalls become alive as soon as the sun starts to set ..... If you could only walk thru and not have these touts in your face and give you a chance to see what they are cooking the experience would have been the best in Marrakech but as soon as you start walking they stick menu's in your face... or stand in front of you to the point that if you don't step on them they won't move ..... they know all the phrases in English, Spanish, French, German ... you name it they know everything here ... amazing !!!!!
What I don't like is they grab your arm and try to get you to sit down at there stalls .... that's the most annoying part of Marrakech ..... We were finally able to see some interesting foods and actually weren't harassed since there stall was full of locals, there was no space so we were left alone for a change ..... once the locals got up were were seated and left alone to take as many photos and ask as many questions we wanted .....
My cousin was not convinced to try anything so I went ahead and had goat tongue .... and since my mother has cooked beef tongue for us since childhood I did not find it gross or anything like that ..... and for 20 Dirham about $2 US.... I found it pretty good .... also at this stall we had the best tea on our trio for a only 2 dirham a glass !!!!!!!!!!
Take your time going thru here and try.... even though its hard ... try to ignore the touts and try something different ... everything is cooked right in front of you .... don't be like some people that we saw eating "fish and chips" ... really you can't go 1 day without comfort food ?????? Be a TRAVELER NOT A TOURIST !!!!! Open your mind, you'll be surprised how well locals will interact with you if your open to there customs and foods ........
A MUST DO !!!!!!!!!
Much can be said about this square ..... but just be on your guard, plenty of pickpockets, and shady people trying to take your money via all types of entertainment !!!!!!! but don't get me wrong .... enjoy yourself for you have never seen anything like this anywhere in the world .... and this is the main attraction of Marrakech .. both during the day and at night ..... there is tons and tons of people at all times here ..... so your never in any type of danger but be careful of your possessions ....... a must do !!!!!!!!!
THE BAD SIDE:
Please be aware as romantic & exotic the idea of snake charmers may be there is much that is not charming about it. Firstly snakes are deaf and cannot hear the music - they are not charmed - they are rising up and adopting the classic cobra pose because they feel threatened. They sway along with the movement of the flute/flute player because this is where there threat is. You should also know that is common practice for snake charmers to rip out the snakes fangs/poison glands - this causes painful abscesses and a slow ad painful death. There have also been reports of snake charmers sewing the mouths of the snakes up to avoid surgery and its costs. It is reported that performing snakes last only a few months in the square - in the wild they can live to 15 years.
The macaques - there are men with macaques in nappies and on excruciatingly short chains which are forever being jerked to force the macaques to obey. These macaques are usually taken from their mothers, in the wild (Atlas mountains) and when not on the leash are kept in tiny cages.
Tortoises, lizards and other wildlife - are available for sale in miniscule cages/tanks. Usually over populated and in poor condition. I sadly saw many such animals who looked to be near dead.
*Please think very carefully before supporting these sellers and performers by purchasing from them or giving them money for photographs*
Djemaa el-fna is the main square and is certainly the focal point for the whole city. It is also a great place to start your explorations because you can get a sense of direction away from the tiny, winding streets and passageways.
Djemaa el-fna was everything I could have hoped for - it was a bustling hubbub of people, an explosion of smells, a concoctions of drums and instruments, an overdose for the eyes and a chaotic mixture of lively, African vibe and exotic Eastern charm.
There are performers and hawkers, food stands and stalls, locals, travellers, tourists, cafés and restaurants. It is a HUGE square that is chock-a-block full of opportunities for shopping, entertainment, people watching and photos as well, of course, of many opportunities to be relieved of your money. Yes there are many opportunities for people to make money from the visitors but there is an overwhelming sense that the square is not a tourist trap but still very much of local importance.
After walking around all day or for a couple of hours take a break and get some fresh OJ. There are plenty sellers in the main square. Most of them use bottled water and if you get a glass make sure they use it (although I do not think it is a problem as business would dry up quickly for them if they did not.
Other stalls or carts will sell dried fruit and nuts which we picked up some of for our trip to Zagora the following day.
I just came back from Marrakech and was bitten on the face by one of the monkeys. I had to cut my trip short and fly back to the states and go on two different antibiotics and antiviral medicine to prevent infection and a fatal disease called Herpes B virus! I've consulted a specialist at the CDC.
Before that happened, everyone in our party (8 of us) were all sickened by terrible travelers diarrhea.
I think Morocco is a great country and I wish our trip had been a better experience.
The main square is Marrakesh has a reputation for being the best night market in the entire Islamic World and despite its craziness and late night charm. Most of my friends have told me that this square is the best in the Islamic World and I can think of several others including the Imam Square in Isfahan Iran which would be way more interesting and traditional. Dubbing this square the best in the Islamic World shows that most people haven't really explored the Islamic World to great depths. The square is a bit a chaotic with its snake charmers, monkeys for hire and some of the most tenacious touts in the world.
The market in Marrakesh is world famous for its craziness, snake charmers, monkeys for sale among its food market, street performers and story tellers. Most travelers claim that this square is the best in the Islamic World but in my opinion others in Iran and Turkery are superior. One or two nights of navigating this madness is good fun but after that the tenacious touts for food and monkeys will take its toll. Overall, the square is great fun.
Djamaa el Fna is the central square of the old part of Marrakesh and a place that is out of this world.
The square really comes to live in the evening where the place is packed with musicians and story tellers who turns the square in to a surreal theater.
There are also dozens of food stands in the evening ob the square that are extremely colorful and serves good morrocoan food.
The square is also full of hustlers, but it's a part of the game there and as soon as you get used to having 50 guys shouting at you at the same time you will have a great time there.
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