Africa

Jemaa El Fna Square, Marrakech

Originally I had planned to visit Morocco in 2011 on a organised trip. There was an incredible itinerary prepared including visiting Marrakech and a trek up to Atlas Mountains and Sahara desert. Unfortunately after some unrest and a bomb explosion in the centre of Marrakech the decision was made for the trip to be cancelled.

Finally two years later I have got the time and money to arrange a week long trip to Marrakech including a day trip to the Atlas Mountains. After much anticipation the time has finally arrived.

My expectations of the city of Marrakech
– culture
– emphasis on religion
– colourful
– busy
– loud
– crowds

After settling into our riad we took the short walk to Jemaa el fna square, this is the main square and the focal point of the city. Jemaa el fna was named a UNSECO site in 2008. There is so many sounds, sights and smells from the square, with food stalls, artists, musicians and craft stalls. The square is surrounded by cafes all offering many different Moroccan dishes. We were recommended to visit cafe de France which overlooks the square and boasts a great picture opportunity over the square.

Once we had enjoyed a much needed drink due to the humidity we started exploring the markets only to soon get very lost. A maze of colours each winding into each other. Walking through the market there were many wild and wonderful items from tea pots to handbags, watches and tagines. We had no intention of buying any products that evening however this didn’t stop the eager shop keepers from trying to stop us to look at their array products.

Greeted with mint tea

Taking our chances and eating at a food stall in the square we were under the impression the food would be freshly cooked and one of a kind. When it arrived we were to say the least very disappointed, uncooked chicken and dry vegetables – that’ll teach us!

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Following the crowds from Jemaa el Fna towards the Koutoubia mosque we realised it was prayer time. There were hundreds of people all descending on the mosque ready for the evening prayer time, one of the busiest of the day. Although I had no idea what was being said it was very interesting to listen and observe the crowds as they went by their daily routine.

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