Selected by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage Site, the fascinating square of Jemaa el-Fna is the symbol of the captivating city of Marrakech.
During the day La place, as Jemaa el-Fna is known in French, is a relatively calm square with a series of stalls selling fruit juices and spices, Berber water sellers and a few snake charmers. As four o'clock in the afternoon approaches, a caravan of carts begins to make its way into the square. Row after row of food stalls start to spring up in the center, along with more snake charmers, jugglers, magicians, henna artists, showmen, monkey handlers, and storytellers. An intriguing and exciting scene develops as the sun goes down and the air is filled with the aroma of spices and smoke from grilling meats.
Walking around this maze of activity is not an easy feat. The senses are on overload from too much sensory stimuli. There are rooftop restaurants and cafes around the square where the spectacle can be better appreciated. And this is exactly what we did the first day at La place.
As the night progresses, the exotic sounds and scents seem louder and stronger culminating at around midnight when the carts parade back out of the square until the following day when it starts all over again.
ST member Tom traveled with his motorhome, Papillon, to Morocco and on his post about Marrakech he wrote:
"Once in your life you must spend an evening in the Jemaa el Fna"
I agree wholeheartedly with Tom.
Here's a video put together by my husband of the first day we spent in this amazing square.
La place at sundown...
and at night.
Dried fruit, nuts and spice stalls.
Berber carpet shops around the square.
A nighttime view with the soft glowing light of a minaret.