on October 24, 2011
Jamaa el Fna square is a must-see for any visitor to Marrakech. Chances are you couldn't come here without at least passing through it without even trying. It's very much the center of the Medina and even deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Located between the souk market area and the Koutoubia Mosque, this main square is a huge hub for locals and tourists alike. Filled in the day-time with stalls of plants, fruits, snake charmers and monkey handlers, one could spend an entire day just taking in the sites. People watching is at a prime here - from all the people on motorcycles, carts, and donkeys trying to get where they're going to all the pedestrians trying to stay out of their way!The perimeter of the square is lined with various cafes, restaurants, and market stalls - all with vendors and hosts trying to pull you in. The noise here can be a bit overwhelming sometimes, but just take your time and don't feel rushed.For a real taste of the local culture, come back to the square after sunset for a new type of night-time party. The entire center of the square is filled with food stalls by evening, all piping out aromatic smoke from their cookers and fry pans. Walking through the rows of numbered booths can seem chaotic. We steered clear from those too pushy for our taste and instead looked for booths where the picnic tables out front were filled with locals and the hosts didn't seem to need to scream for people to enter - as there were already plenty of customers. Take a seat, and choose several of the a-la-carte menu items of typical cuisine. Pay the nominal fee and enjoy an outdoor meal from paper plates while watching the non-stop action around you. Story-tellers come out at night as well on the square with the locals huddled around to hear legends passed down through generations. Snake charmers and monkey handlers stick around through the evening as well, so if you didn't get a photo in the day - you'll have plenty of opportunities after night fall!
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