The ‘Djemaa el Fna’ in Marrakech is one of the UNESCO’s ‘masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritages of humanity’. Street performers, fortune-tellers and charlatans offer their arts between food and beverage stalls.
Djemaa el Fna (Assembly of the Dead)
The Djemaa el Fna is Marrakesh’s most famous locality and most probably the most vivid. Stalls are all over the place but also the surrounding streets offer attractive and very busy small shops. As a tourist you can easily walk the streets and souks on your own. Yes, you will be asked into the shops but the salesmen are very respectful. After your first ‘thanks, but no thanks’ they will leave you alone.
Shopping in Souks and the Complexe d’Artisanat
In the souks you will get everything from spices and medicine to souvenirs of all sorts.
If you prefer to shop around in a ‘Western style’, i.e. you check things out and the salesmen wait until you approach them, you should consider the ‘Complexe d’Artisanat‘ on the Derb Baissi Rue de la Kasbah. On 16000 square meters it offers an overwhelming choice ranging from carpets to tea cans and everything else you can possibly imagine. Well, that was my impression, anyway, for you could also wish for a H.R. Giger alien sculpture… We were shown around by the friendly Mr. Salah who would give us some insights into the carpet technique diversity from Persia, Arabia, Maghreb or Africa.
Matt Long has an interesting description of the same square when later on it becomes the ‘night market‘. According to his description the vendors may be more aggressive later on in the evening. And yes, knowledge of French is a big plus in Morocco!
Other recommendations we received include http://www.harem-escape.com/, i Limoni, Le Comptoir Darna (book a table in the main restaurant and check out their bar on the first floor after dinner), Terrace des Epices in the Medina and Restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz (book ahead of time, it’s very popular).