Djemaa El-Fna Marrakech - a 'Masterpiece of World Heritage'Sunday, January 19, 2014
In 2001 Unesco declared the night markets of Marrakech in Djaama El-Fna Square a 'Masterpiece of World Heritage. And visiting this famous square - it was easy to see why. Djemaa El-Fna is where the action's at!
By day Djemaa El-Fna is a slightly more 'calm' affair...
... well... calm if you find snake charmers, monkey handlers, teeth pullers, henna tattooists, fortune tellers and more fairly normal! There was also lots of fun and games to be played too - including a game where you had to balance a lead doughnut attached to a pole and string around the top of soft-drink bottle.
As well as the never ending sources of entertainment within Djemaa El-Fna we also watched hundreds of locals wander through the square on their way to Koutoubia Mosque - just 200 metres away on Avenue Mohammed V, so we headed that way too. And I would recommend doing this to see the ornamented curved windows and decorative arches up close.
However - the real Djemaa El-Fna magic happened at night - when at about 7pm resourceful night stall holders transformed the square into an open air restaurant in less than five minutes. Tents went up, tables were put out, food began to cook and the hungry customers arrived.
And the experience didn't disappoint. From the unique and slightly shocking sales pitches the restaurant owners yelled at us - "no diarrhoea for two years", to the amazing variety of food on display... sheep's brain, prawns, kebab meats, bread, soup, potatoes stuffed with egg, fish, stews, tagines, dried fruit and orange juice... we had a fantastic time.
When we finally choose a stall to eat we were sung into our seats by the waiters. So much fun! And we were lucky enough to be seated next to nice German couple whom we swapped travel stories and recommendations with throughout our meal.
Everything on the menu was pretty cheap - about €2-€4 so we ordered a selection. I went for a lamb tagine. We also managed to acquire a few other dishes that we didn't order, as the restaurants like to sneakly add things to your bill, but we didn't mind too much.
My meal was pretty tasty - and I loved the sliced orange with cinnamon for desert. (That's a recipe I'll be making in the future.) But it was the atmosphere that was the most enjoyable.
After eating we wandered a bit more, and by this stage there were lots of twinkling tea-light holders for sale spread throughout the square. Just beautiful. We finished our evening picking up some fresh mint tea from a tea stall and slowly making our way through the twinkling lights back to our riad and bed...