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The Jemaa el-Fna Square is one of the main cultural spaces in Marrakesh and is nothing short of a sensory overload. Located at the entrance of the Medina, this triangular square, which is surrounded by restaurants, stands and public buildings, provides everyday commercial activities and various forms of entertainment. It is a meeting point for both the local population and tourists alike. By day a variety of services are offered, such as tooth pullers, fortune-telling, preaching, and henna tattooing; water-carriers in their fringed hats hoping anyone will take a drink from one of their tin cups, and monkey carriers hoping you will hold their monkeys for a tip (I did).  In addition, there are performances by storytellers, poets, snake-charmers, Berber musicians, Gnaoua dancers and senthir (hajouj) players. When the sun goes down the entire square is transformed into a maze of food stalls and smoke. After a bite to eat, this is best viewed by making your way up to one of the rooftops. While all of this was very exciting and not to be missed, there are a few things you should always remember while there.  As soon as you hit the square you will be bombarded by people trying to get your money. It can be very intimidating but don’t be shy or afraid to say “NO”.  If you plan on taking pictures (which is one of the main reasons for going there), you will be expected to tip each time you snap a shot and everyone in the shot will make you feel like you owe them money. Unless you are specifically taking say a picture of the snakecharmer who you should tip, just keep walking. Keep a very close eye on your things and wallet. There are pickpockets who make a very good living on stealing from tourists who are paying more attention to all that is going on around them. Despite all of this, it is well worth going and I can guarantee you that you will never see anything quite like it anywhere else. Since this was our last stop on our spectacular tour of Morocco, I cannot go without mentioning and thanking immensely our hosts and guides for this trip, Hamid and Lahcen from Around Morocco Tours. Worth every cent and we could never tip enough for all the great memories they made for us….places and things we never would have seen had we been on our own. I highly recommend obtaining their services.

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Mike
Mike
6 years ago

Hi carol, thank you for such a wonderful blog, i was think to create one for our past morocco tour then things got busy and never had a chance to. We went last year to Morocco and it was wonderful, we initially wanted to travel on our own by renting a car then after we contacted contacted Gateway2Morocco and couple emails we decided to go on private guided trip which was amazing http://www.gateway2morocco.com . The trip to Merzouga desert was very unique especially for our three kids who enjoyed the camel more than anything else, we still joke about those… Read more »