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Jamaa el-Fnaa

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129 reviews of Jamaa el-Fnaa

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A true hive of activity and spectacle

In your visit to Marrakech, you simply can't miss a nighttime visit to Jamaa el-Fnaa. I'd suggest heading around 11pm, more or less, and having a tea in one of the terraces (rooftop, preferably) of the bars that circle the square and soak in the controlled chaos that slowly builds. Snake charmers, stands that pop up out of nowhere, juice vendors, monkeys, women offering to paint you with henna....And, above all, lots of effort to coax the more clueless tourists into the square's restaurants which charge rates way above the normal for Marrakech (in the end, this is an first step in every tourist's initiation to the Arab world! :D). Since a video is worth more than world, I'll leave you a video which I shot.

Visiting this square confirms the idea that making a living depends on your level of creativity. The whole thing looks like a circus where you can't take a single step without stopping and marveling over some spectacle: dancers of all kinds, monkeys, henna-painted women, food stalls, juice vendors, trinkets, games, snake-charmers, slick-talking waiters chiding you to enter their establishments, etc. From sunset until way after midnight, the place is a true hive of activity and spectacle.
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There's nowhere (and I mean nowhere) on Earth like the Djemaa El Fnaa, the iconic main square in the Medina of Marrakech. You'll realize this as soon as you get off the bus from the airport and stroll along the main drag: the air is filled with the pounding drums of the gnaoua musicians, someone will walk past you with a monkey, you'll small dozens of grills cooking all kinds of meats rubbed with all kinds of spices. It's that precise moment when you realize you're not at home anymore.

During the day, it's fairly calm and is basically an open-air marketplace. But at night, it transforms into a carnival. I'd suggest getting there around dark and grabbing a bit to eat. I wouldn't suggest actually entering the food area; the central part is all tourist-oriented mixed grills and you'll have to battle and endless line of people hassling you to eat at their place. Instead, opt for the cheaper, more authentic, and friendlier roast lamb or soup vendors around the edge.

Next, head over to hear the gnaoua musicians. Don't get right at the edge of the musicians unless you're willing to pay. Stand a few feet off and enjoy the music for free! :o) There really is no where else like it. Thousands of locals haggling, talking, eating, walking, flirting, selling, and just living life. It's an incredible spectacle.

The Djemaa El Fnaa IS Morocco. 100% Recommended!
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Marrakech medina, morocco

Tajines are a cultural item of Morocco. Every family has one of these clay pots used for cooking their dishes. At the medina, or market square, these colorful decorative tajines are a beauty to behold.
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Near Jamaa el-Fnaa

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