Results 1-10of 17 Reviews
Huddersfield, United Kingdom
September 30, 2012
From journal A wander round the sights and smells of Marrakech
April 24, 2011
From journal Intense Marrakech
by globe trotter
Manchester, United Kingdom
December 4, 2000
I suggest seeing it from 2 angles - firstly down in the thick of it & secondly looking down on it from above from one of the many restaurant terraces that surround it.
It's a great place to take pictures - but expect to tip performers/snake charmers if you take their picture.
If you have the time experience the square both before sunset & after - while it's still light it's good to wander over to Koutoubia mosque & then have a look at all the weird & wonderful food being cooked by skilled chefs on makeshift grills. After dark the fire eaters & other performers seem even more surreal!
Try & hit one of the terraces early - everybody - tourists & locals want a ringside seat at sunset & the terraces get very busy. Get there half an hour before sundown & sip a traditional mint tea - a great soothing contrast to the fray below.
From journal Medinas & Mosques in Morocco
St. Augustine, Florida
October 24, 2011
From journal Week in Marrakech
January 10, 2010
From journal Marvelous Marrakesh!
August 15, 2004
There may be some locals chasing you to hire them at the entrance, but once in the souks, you should be left alone.
There are carpet souks, carpenters, dyers souks, spice souks where you can also see very unusual material which locals still use in witchcraft and mostly illegal in many countries (teeth, and parts of rare animals), babush (colorful slippers) souks can all be visited. You should have the courage to negotiate in souks. Even though I was told to pay half of the first told price, you may get in touch with reasonable sellers sometimes who tell you a good price at once. But once I could not find the appropriate price for a teapot. The prices I was told were mainly European prices. Fortunately, there is a big retailer in Morocco called Marjane, so I have found my teapot against affordable prices. So you can keep it as the last option in case souks are not for you but you’d still like to take something with you of this country.
From journal The mysterious city of Morocco
Washington, District of Columbia
December 16, 2004
The places closest to the Djemaa el Fnaa are more aimed for tourists. The quality of products was not very good, and the prices were very high. You will have to make your way into the heart of the souks to find items of good quality.
I highly recommend the cloth found in Marrakech. The weave is well done, and the colors and patterns are quite captivating. One of my group members bought a beautiful piece woven of cotton, silk, and cashmere in gorgeous sunset colors that I have not seen elsewhere.
I would not, however, recommend buying many things here if you have a chance to travel to other parts of Morocco. I was able to find things, such as wood, carpets, and pottery, that were of much better quality and price when visiting some of the other cities. The merchants are very good bargainers and start out at often outrageous prices. Even though I already had an idea of the prices being charged in other places, it was very difficult to find a good deal.
From journal 2.5 weeks in Morocco
November 21, 2004
Despite all of that, it is still somehow an environment that demands you recognise the positives. It is an area where commerce thrives and the industrious succeed; where business deals are struck; where the locals socialise over a cup of tea; where individuals pray to their god; and where children are trained as apprentices in the family business. You get a real sense of social cohesiveness, and despite the dark and dusty alleys, it is neither a threatening nor a sinister environment. We saw locals playing checkers, guys shaving, and youngsters skipping down the alleys.
As you progress through the aisles, sometimes they are so narrow that you can touch both sides from the centre. It will be obvious that specialist areas have been allocated for the different crafts, and we occasionally wondered where the market was for so many copper light holders. We saw every product imaginable, ranging from decorated and carved wooden figures, finely polished wooden boxes, enamelled metal work, delicately engraved silverware, fretted copper, to brightly coloured textiles. We toyed with the idea of buying some of the highly decorated plates and treating ourselves to an elaborately designed tajine. We resisted the large choice of leather items, but were very tempted to buy an exquisitely tooled leather pouf. There were large selections of herbs and spices, many I’d ever even heard of.
Within this area, you’ll be able to call in at an apothecary and be spoken to about the wonders of natural medication. They’ll try to sell you cures for all ailments, obesity, and maintaining the body’s equilibrium. As a cold sore sufferer, I bought an ointment to relieve pain and speed up recovery–wish I’d been less cynical and bought more, as this application really works.
At the bottom end of Souq as-Smarrine is the tourist area selling rug, blankets, tourist trinkets, and souvenirs.
Wherever you are in the Souk, fight the fear that you’ll get lost–all alleys will eventually lead back to the main road and you’ll have a great time exploring. Never give the asking price and enjoy your haggling–I’m convinced that they do!
From journal A long weekend in Marrakesh
And then, as if by magic, as the sun began to set, the square began to fill. We saw groups forming around local storytellers. Unfortunately, we could not understand the tales, but the crowds stood transfixed as the performers spoke with feeling and intensity. One teller held a chameleon for added interest.
Snake charmers dragged writhing reptiles out of baskets and began their performances, rapidly sending assistants to prey on any pausing tourist. The colourfully dressed water carriers did seem to have a dual role; first to provide drinkable water to anyone who would pay, and second, to pose, for a few dirham for holiday snaps, but they weren’t the only photogenic individuals on the square! There were guys leading monkeys on chains who would happily let them sit on your shoulders for a payment or intimidate you with them if you resisted the photo call. Snakes were draped round your shoulder and I heard more cries of, "Hey my friend, are you from . . . ?" than I could count.
There were singers (or should I say wailers!), dancers, and a troupe of acrobats performing happily for a few centimes. Belly dancers seemed at home as they waddled around the square; the temporary henna tattooists were out in force, as were the fortune-tellers and the small market traders offering cheap trinkets or second hand English novels.
On top of the intense food smells, the noise level was intense. There were musicians by the score, and they competed with the cries of the traders and the excitement of the growing number of tourists.
After a time, we adjourned for a coffee on the nearby rooftop restaurant. We managed to get a seat overlooking the square, where the whole atmosphere of
Djemaa el-Fna could be realised. We could virtually see food being cooked as the smoke from the griddles filled the square. There was hardly a trestle table unoccupied as the food stalls business thrived and the whole of the floor space was rammed with people.
This is truly an experience that all your senses can savour, and it really is hard to express in words the excitement that you will feel in the "square of the dead."
They range from cheap tat through to high end antiques, rugs & furniture.
I would say the first time you go preferably go with a guide so you can get orientated.
Feel free to barter - cash is usually a better bet for bargains than credit cards - although even some of the smallest places accept credit cards.
Also be warned shipping seems to be very expensive & complicated - plan to hand carry your new souvenirs if possible - the souks (& even some of the better shops) don't seem to handle the concept of shipping very well & will instantly put your hard bargained price back up & over if you even suggest it!
Also regarding excess baggage: the Moroccan airlines charge by number of items rather than weight - so if you are taking things back & want to check them in - get the shop to wrap them in one big parcel - we didn't do this & it cost a small fortune - so be warned.