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“Expected a magical experience - got quite the opposite.” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Jemaa el Fna

Jemaa el Fna
Central square at entrance to market, Marrakech, Morocco
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Top Rated
$58*
and up
Experience Marrakech: Food and Market Tour of...
Ranked #9 of 62 Attractions in Marrakech
Type: Neighborhoods, Performances, Landmarks/ Points of Interest, Cultural
Activities: Shopping
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: This is the entrance to the outdoor market and food court of the city center.
Valbonne, France
Top Contributor
112 reviews 112 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
93 helpful votes 93 helpful votes
“Expected a magical experience - got quite the opposite.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013 via mobile

If the sellers in the Souk are pushy, the Jemaa el Fna is a downright terrifying place. I had been told there were pretty restaurants and cafes surrounding a lovely square. It's not pretty. It's a giant slab of concrete surrounded by far from picturesque buildings. On arrival I saw a chap sitting with a few snakes including a cobra. I love snakes and asked if he would mind if I took some photos. He then put one around my neck- great, and of course we planned to give him some money. But he demanded 300 dirhams, and we were quickly surrounded by 3 of his colleagues all shouting "you give us 300 dirhams for our family." We gave him 50 dirhams- pretty generous for a few photos- and they continued to shout at us and insult us as we walked away.
A few steps further and a very old woman grabbed my hand. And held it so tightly that I couldn't break free. A younger woman came up and quickly started to put henna on my left hand- with me saying "no" and still trying to break away. I realised that the hand she was pulling was the hand with my wedding and engagement ring on- and it was the rings that they were trying to remove. I got away, rings still on my finger.....but they were still shouting and demanding money, for the henna I didn't want.
This all happened in broad daylight- not in the evening.

I will be writing other reports about our stay in Marrakech in the next few days- sadly most of them bad experiences.
I would add that I have lived in both Yemen and Egypt, so am very used to Arab culture. But I have never experienced violence like this, anywhere. Very, very disappointing.

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Newcastle, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
26 attraction reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Hast to be seen”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

Busy interesting with a selection of restaurants around it where you can sit and watch. Square dirty and very smelly!
Beware of the snake charmers and the monkeys who may also pick pocket you!

Visited March 2013
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Berkshire
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“It all happens here”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

The only thing I didn't like was the use of animals- monkeys, snakes even a guinea pig and hedgehog. I steered clear of this area. A great place full of life.

Visited March 2013
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Guilin, China
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“a cultural treasure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

A cultural treasure — the most famous shopping therapy in the heart of Marrakech! The square along with its souqs are greatly entertaining as it features lively crowds, drum beats, hustling touts, fortune-tellers, musicians, acrobats, fire-eaters, healers and fakirs, snake charmers. The souqs are famously for beautiful pottery, rugs, lanterns, bedding and ornaments.

Visited October 2012
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Caterham, United Kingdom
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“The Night Market”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

What can you say but you have to try the Night Market whilst in Marrakech. The food, bustle and activity has to be experienced. The food is freshly prepared and tasty.

Visited March 2013
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