Jemaa el Fnaa : Things to Do and See

Marrakesh is one of the largest Moroccan cities and is located in the center of the kingdom. There are multiple activities and sights to occupy your interest, but the most fascinating is undoubtedly the Jemaa el-Fnaa in the Medina quarter. This is where you get to watch snake charmers, story tellers, and musicians, in addition to many other types of Moroccan folklore that represents the traditional heritage of the country.

Jamaa El Fna square, Marrakesh, Photo via Flickr

What is Jemaa el-Fnaa?

Jemaa el-Fnaa or Djemma el-Fnaa actually means “assembly of the dead” – even though it seems a little eerie, this arena has made Marrakesh one of the most remarkable cities and most-visited cities in the world. In 2001, UNESCO declared this place as “Masterpiece of World Heritage”, as they bring urban legends and oral history to life every night.

Place Jemaa el-Fna – Aicha n°1 – Marrakech – Morocco.
Photo Credit: SuperCar-RoadTrip, Flickr

What is there to see?

Snake Charmer, Marrakech, Photo Credit: Brad Hammonds, Via Flickr

This place captivates you like no other and makes you want to spend more time here. During the day, rather by mid morning, you can hear snake charmers in Marrakech playing their flutes to bewitch cobras, medicine men displaying their wares consisting of potions, and tooth-pullers with fearsome pliers offering to get rid of the pain for toothache sufferers.

Fortune Teller, Photo Credit: Ahron de Leeuw, Via Flickr

 

The actual show doesn’t begin until sunset when restaurants fire up their grills, cueing musicians to tune up their instruments. The medina square gradually fills up with a gathering of storytellers, acrobats, musicians and entertainers. Berber musicians and Gnaoua troupes are well-known for their music and songs respectively. Sideshow attractions include games of hoop-the-bottle, fortune-tellers sitting under umbrellas with packs of fortune-telling cards at the ready and women with piping bags full of henna paste, ready to paint hands, feet or arms with temporary tattoos.

Satiate your appetite

You can enjoy the goings-on from a distance as well, such as rooftop terraces of cafes and eateries. The Marrakech food market in this area has an abundance of restaurants with mouth-watering dishes brimming with taste and flavor. Numerous food stalls lit by gas lanterns turn the entire square into an open-air dining area.

 

You can catch whiffs of wonderful aromas and plumes of cooking smoke spiraling up into the night. Handcarts piled high with dates, dried figs, almonds and walnuts can be seen as well – they are freshly picked from the surrounding countryside.

Sweets Shop, Jemaa Fna, Photo via Flickr

If are looking for things to do in Marrakech, you should definitely visit Jemaa el-Fnaa to explore this glorious and enchanting haven.

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