Marrakesh’s icon is much more than a landmark. It’s an experience. Djemma el Fna the city’s massive square in the medina or old city is like no other.
Snake charmers, acrobats, musicians, monkey handlers, fortune tellers, traditional healers, dentists and water sellers all compete for attention beckoning passers by and fascinated tourists. And this is just during the day.
Prime time to visit Djemma el Fna is at dusk when the square really starts coming to life. Food vendors with plumes of smoke hovering over their stalls set up en masse among the sea of humanity. The outdoor eateries are occupied by diners feasting on local delicacies.
Enthusiastic crowds, six people deep gather around story tellers narrating ancient tales. Nearby the drums of musicians beat well into the night.
Be warned. If you stop to watch performers or click a photograph you will be expected to pay a tip and be pursued if you don’t. A few dirhams will usually do.
Another good way to take it all in is from one the roof top cafes overlooking the square, which Unesco declared a World Heritage site in 2001.