Djemaa el Fna – “The Heart of the City”
Djemaa el Fna is located in the exotic city of Marrakech and is known to locals as the 'heart of the city'. It is a part of Marrakech that presents an ever changing character with the rising of the sun and well into the night. It is a cultural mix of color, scents, sight and sound and is one of the liveliest attractions in Morocco. Visitors and tourists should not miss the opportunity to spend time in Djemaa el Fna, not only by day, but also at night.
Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech is a location that has been the main square in the city for decades. It is not just a tourist attraction since many locals also enjoy the activities that make Djemaa el Fna come alive. During the day, the square has numerous stalls, most of which sell fresh fruit juice, water and fruit. Visitors will also be able to take photographs of the snake charmers, but the performers usually request a small fee in exchange for a photo. The snack stalls and relaxed atmosphere makes it hard to believe that at night there is almost no place to stand as the Djemaa el Fna fills up to capacity.
In the early evening, the snake charmers, fruit juice traders and snack stalls start packing up to leave. Slowly the Djemaa el Fna starts to bustle with storytellers, musicians, healers, magicians, peddlers, Chleu (dancing boys) and sellers of traditional medicine. Looking at the festivities, it is easy to picture yourself in a scene of the 2005 movie, “Morocco: The Past and Present of Djemaa el Fna”. In this historical documentary, the cultural combination of Berber and Arab is depicted with all the color, acrobats, snake charmers and musicians that one still finds here today.
In the evenings the food stalls have a large variety of traditional dishes to choose from and these may include meat, vegetables and fish. When a visitor sees something they like they simply need to point out the dishes they want and within a few minutes it is prepared. The food is delicious and if the locals have given it their stamp of approval, it is definitely safe to try. If the noise and activity becomes too much, there are quiet gardens and cafes nearby.
Djemaa el Fna is also one of the safest and most secure attractions in Morocco. The authorities in Marrakech are aware of the importance of the square to the tourist industry, so the square is always filled with a discreet presence of policemen. A visit to the heart of Marrakech is a truly wonderful experience and recommended to all that stay in this fascinating city.