Sheep’s head, anise flavoured snails and cinnamon are three things that immediately flood my memory when I think about Djemaa el Fna and Marrakech.
Djemaa el Fna is the main square in Marrakech’s medina quarter. Bustling and filled with merchants and performers all day and night, this area inspired the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity UNESCO project, where they identify cultural history such as music and performances, rather than physical buildings and places.
Djemaa el Fna in the daytime
During the day, stalls sell orange juice, dates and nuts. Performers wander around with poor Barbary apes on chains and snake charmers try to lure in tourists.
another shot of Djemaa el Fna in the daytime
There are a number of cafés facing the square.
doughnut seller and cafe
And then, before sunset, the snakes move out and the food carts start moving in.
To me, this is when Djemaa el Fna really comes alive. At night the square is filled with food stalls, hungry people, singers, drummers, dancers, storytellers, women doing tattoos with some dubious henna and people selling traditional medicines.
nuts and dried fruits
While we were in Marrakech, we went to a local souk. Souks are markets – sometimes permanent and sometimes weekly, depending on the souk. This souk wasn’t a tourist one where you could buy souvenir trinkets, but a souk that locals went to for various needs. Part of the souk is permanent and sells things like furniture. The other part of the souk was transient and reminded me of a flea market. You could buy anything including shoes, carpets, clothing… I even saw an old VCR player for sale!
Some of these photos are a little crooked because I was taking them with my camera hidden partially under a jacket draped over my arm. Taking photos in Morocco isn’t always easy as people tend to prefer not to have their photo taken, so unless we had specific permission from someone to take their photo I tended to take unobtrusive pictures instead. I could have straightened the photos on my computer, but I feel like the angles are part of my Moroccan experience and decided to leave them all in instead!
outside of the souk, by the medina walls
I cannot stop marvelling at the oranges in Morocco. I still dream of their sweet goodness.
Moroccans love sweets and pastries.
radishes and other unidentifyable vegetables
cookware shining in the sun
I think these were chestnuts but I can’t remember for sure.
permanent part of the souk
I saw so many tagines during the trip and I dearly wanted to buy one but there was no way I would be able to haul one around for the rest of our trip and I was afraid that it wouldn’t survive a trip through the post office. They were so cheap, and they were all so very tempting.
tagines and doors
The locals must have thought I was nuts for taking some of these photos. These are parts of an olive oil press. Some of the spiral posts were taller than I am!
olive oil press
How did people got all this stuff home? By cart or truck, if necessary.