The Jemaa el Fna square is the main and most famous of the squares in the beautiful Moroccan city of Marrakech. A center of life, commercial activity and meeting. A place that is worth visiting during the day, but also at night, to observe how it changes as the hours go by.
The origin of the name of the square has several versions. It could mean ‘assembly of annihilation’, since it was in this place that criminals were publicly executed. But its name has also been related to an old mosque that stood in this place.
Where is the Jemaa el Fna square?
As the heart of the city, it is very easy to get to the square. This is located a step away from the Koutoubia Mosque, so it is dominated by its minaret. Around it you can see other smaller mosques and also the lively souks of the medina.
It is a huge square in which cafes and restaurants have proliferated from which you can quietly enjoy its atmosphere and animation. A very unique spirit that UNESCO recognized in 2008 by including it in the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Alfred Hitchcock chose this square to shoot some scenes of the man that knew too much. And it was also the scene of the novel Hideous Kinky, of Esther Freud.
What to buy in the square?
Due to its large dimensions, Dozens of merchants gather in this square every day and set up their stalls. In them you will find from fruits and spices to handicrafts. Everything can be bought and sold in this square. But first, you must bear in mind that haggling is the usual trend.
Spices are recommended due to their wide variety. You can also buy Arabic lamps, carved tin vases or carpets of many colors. Everything, without forgetting different styles of fabrics, from the simplest and lightest to the most elaborate. The brocades and embroidery with golden threads are the protagonists in the typical garments.
We must never forget about accessories. Nothing shows better that you have been in Morocco than some good leather accessories. Finely embellished bags, purses and shoes are an ideal souvenir to take home.
The gastronomy of the Jemaa el Fna square
If during the day the merchants are the protagonists of the square, at nightfall it is the food stalls that take their place. Thus, in this place you can try countless typical delicacies and let yourself be carried away by the aromas and flavors that flood everything.
You cannot leave without trying the tagine, a traditional Moroccan stew. The name derives from the tajine, a North African clay pot used in its preparation. In this plaza you will find it made with an exotic mix of spices and chicken or lamb. But there are also versions made with vegetables, ideal for vegans.
To accompany this dish, you should order the khubz. This Moroccan bread is the ideal complement to any meal. It can be a bit cloying and the best way to consume it is fresh from the oven. You can also try the flatbread or rghaif.
There are many other possibilities. Of course, you can try one of the most well-known Moroccan dishes, couscous. Traditionally, dry semolina is rolled by hand. It is then sprinkled with water to form small grains which are then boiled to become couscous.
And finally, do not forget to enjoy the best Moroccan sweets. Almost all sweets are seasoned with nuts, particularly almonds, especially the delicious gazelle horns.
a must see
As we said, the Jemaa el Fna square is the heart of the city. The essence and soul of Marrakech are found here. A diaphanous space full of activity will open before you. Merchants, acrobats and snake charmers, food vendors and even fortune tellers await you in this square.
Definitely, It is one of the most spectacular places in Morocco. It is an immense open space full of magic that you cannot miss on your trip to Marrakech.