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It also has somewhat of a sinister backstory. Well… an actually sinister backstory. The name Djemaa-El-Fna translates to “The assembly of the perished”. Back then, in the 11th century, public executions were the events that drew the largest crowds. Us, out of all people, would have never guessed that it would turn into such a beautiful gathering spot for locals and guests.
Poets have been a large part of the Almoravids’ society. They were regular attendees of the square, and they made sure to pass the country’s legends to visitors. Word of mouth did its dues, and it eventually reached the UNESCO. In 2008, Djemaa-El-Fna has earned its place on UNESCO’s list of spaces with intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
If you think this is exciting, then you’ll surely love our guide’s way of telling a story on our Fes to Marrakech desert tours.
That was in the past, people have learned from that, and they turned it upside down. By day, Djemaa-El-Fna is a backdrop for dentists, preachers, medicine peddlers and snake charmers. Entertainment comes in different ways here. You’ll find something that’ll get your attention within seconds of setting foot in the square. You’ll find henna artists, and barbary macaques that add a simple, yet potent, cheerful energy.
Spending a whole day in Djemaa-El-Fna will feel like being in different places. In the afternoon, everything changes. The snake charmers are replaced with other performers. Fortune-tellers and acrobats are queued up next. You’ll also find storytellers. If you find yourself thinking ‘ well they’re only entertaining the locals, as they’re speaking a different language’ then we urge you to change your perspective. You can still get a sense of their prowess just by looking at them. The audience’s reactions alone will make you feel something. When you hear a crowded laugh – mixed with what may sound as screeching – you’ll instantly feel prominent joy.
It usually is scorching in Marrakech. This is not a warning, on the contrary, it’s a boon. Only when it’s really hot outside, can you really enjoy a fresh glass of orange juice. If you’d rather have water, then you’ll get water and a show. Water sellers advertise their wares by clanging brass cups together. Everything has to catch your eye before you participate in it, even when it’s just water.
The square at night is enchanting. Everything clears out and mule carts transport makeshift stalls. At night, the whole square turns into a huge restaurant. From above, it looks luminous and cheerful, and from within, it looks like a wonderland.
Food varies. If you prefer traditional Moroccan tagines, then you’ll have traditional Moroccan tagines. If you’re an adventurer, like us, then you’ll certainly love snail soup and boiled sheep head.
Nighttime is the most atmospheric time to visit the square. A harmonious sound comprised of countless voices will take over, and you’ll surely love being in the middle of it all.
All in all, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring Djemaa-El-Fna on Fes to Marrakech desert tours. We’ll be there to guide you for the whole time, and you’ll certainly appreciate the way we conduct our tours.