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“Happy Madness” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Jemaa el Fna

Jemaa el Fna
| Square of Marrakech, Marrakech 40000, Morocco
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Shopping in the Souks of Marrakech Private Tour
Ranked #11 of 153 things to do in Marrakech
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: This is the entrance to the outdoor market and food court of the city center.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
“Happy Madness”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

This is only a short walk from Riad Hayati and is the center of Marrakech. Drummers, acrobats, fortune tellers. It's been the same since ancient times. Unique in the world.

Visited June 2013
Thank EdCabott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
43 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Spend the time...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

It is worth taking more time than you think you need to in this remarkable square - though you will be accosted by persistent locals hawking food or goods, this is all done in good spirit. We were warned about people who draw you in and then demand lots of money, so were careful to always decline invitations and approach on our terms. How could kids resist a snake charmer? I approached one and asked some questions, then said we would come back. Rather than focussing on the "snake show" we talked about them first - where they came from, what role the charming played over time, what types of snakes they used, etc. Only then did we watch the snakes, and the men were so nice we got a highly entertaining cobra-strike on video. We spent a good 20 minutes with the men, and paid them handsomely (for them, not us) for an unforgettable family experience. We all agreed - take the time in Jemaa el Fna.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank smckd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Organized chaos - a must do!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

We wandered through the streets at sunset the night before Ramadan to see all that the square had to offer. While slightly overwhelming at first as there are thousands of people crammed in to one area, you can eventually see that all of the vendors have their own place to be. In addition to the number stalls, there are a variety of people (entertainers, artists, animal charmers, etc) who bring a stool or blanket and sit in the same spot each night.

The food vendors seem to sell all the same thing for the same price. They have their most charming workers in front of the stalls, trying to persuade you to eat at their booth. Most have mastered a few tag lines in English - we selected our stall based on the funniest line we heard. Stay away from soup and salad, especially during the summer months, as they are most likely to spoil in the heat. Question what your waiter offers/brings you, as many times they place additional plates (olives, french fries, eggplant patties) in front of you, regardless of what you ordered, and then demand that you pay for them at the end of the meal.
Be cautious when standing near the snake charmers, monkey men, musicians, and henna ladies - the majority of them will demand payment for observing of photographing them. This is how they make their living, so are very good at making sure they collect from you =)

There is a public bathroom available near the police station (across from the alley where the horse and carriage line is). A man sits at the bottom of the stairs to collect the fee (1 Dk, I believe). Be prepared this is NOT a Western bathroom...I was shocked to open the stall door and find just a squatting hole. It was an eye opening encounter and made me appreciate even more all the luxuries I have at home.

We were so fascinated by the square that we returned the next two days, both during the day time and after sunset. If you don't like crowds, loud noises, bartering, then this is not the place for you. But if you want to see what it is like to blend in with the locals, then you wouldn't want to miss this!

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Alissa D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
50 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Quite an experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2013

We found this market after being accosted by one of the locals and taken to a berber to buy a rug.
The square comes to life at sunset. we took a coffee in one of the cafes at the edge of the square and people watched for a while. we ate at stall 117- lured in by the waiters who will say 117 takes you to heaven!
They recommended we try a little of everything- vegetables, couscous, kebabs, lamb chops, fish, calamares, prawns, and chips! Reasonable at 300 dirhams- we could not eat it all
Watch out for the womenwho grab your hands and put henna on- need to be very firm.
Plenty to see and sense. We visited during Ramadan watch the people go to pray at sunset- truly fascinating.

Visited July 2013
Thank Dexter w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ratoath, Ireland
Level Contributor
38 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Like a constant fair ground”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2013

Best way to enjoy is to get a rooftop restaurant and sit in the terrace, enjoy your meal and just observe.

Visited May 2013
Thank srr86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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