Jemaa el Fna

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Marianne on January 22, 2002

The first thing to visit is the city square of Marrakech: Jemaa el Fna. I was slightly disappointed as it is not an example of great architectural beauty. But it’s the people that make it interesting, and its continuous day and night life. Perfomers of every kind put up their shows and continue until the food stalls start to move in, when the sun has set.

Jemaa el-Fna owes most of its fame to the large number of spectacles going on all around all the time. Snake charmers, singers, musicians, story tellers and healers attract a large audience.

At most tourist destination you will find ‘water sellers’. Generally speaking they have no intention of selling water to you, but they allow you to take a photo of them, at a cost, one dirham is sufficient. However I also met them in ‘tourist free zones’ where they perform their original task of providing cups of water from a lambskin carafe for a small fee.

And who had this strange idea that the square should be lined with orange juice stalls? Some 50 stalls cheek by jowl.

There are many cafes and restaurants around Jemaa., most of them have seating on the first floor with great views of the square. Relax and sip your mint tea.

As soon as the sun has set the juice sellers make place for the food stalls. All food is made fresh on the spot, meat, fish, vegetable dishes.

I don’t think it is ‘dangerous’ to eat here. The only precaution I take is that I never order meat or fish, just vegetables. Eating here is an excellent opportunity to meet Morrocans. I always carefully choose a place where there are no tourists. The moment you sit down people start asking questions. It’s often the beginning of a new friendship.
Djemaa el Fna/Jamma el-Fnaa
Medina Quarter
Marrakesh, Morocco

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