Djemma el-Fna – The World’s Oldest Living Circus

For hundreds of years the center and soul of 3 days tour from Marrakech to Merzouga, the place individuals come to fulfill, eat, store and be entertained, Djemma el-Fna at this time stays the town’s lifeblood. A spot the place you may be enthralled by snake charmers and acrobats, have your palms tattooed in henna, discount over the value of dates and spices and when all of it turns into an excessive amount of, retire to one of many rooftop cafes to soak up the spectacle with a glass of mint tea.

Historical past

The title in Arabic means “Meeting of the Useless” and its origin is unknown, including to the squares enigmatic nature. To locals it’s identified merely as “la place” (the sq.). Centuries in the past it was a vacation spot for caravans from throughout the Sahara Desert trying to commerce gold, medicines and slaves amongst different issues. It was a observe that had been undertaken since 1000BC. It wasn’t till the eleventh century {that a} everlasting metropolis, and with it the Djemma el-Fna, was created. It’s mentioned that the leisure that continues to be at this time is much like that which was organized for vacationers all these years in the past.


Set in the course of the Medina, or “previous city”, it appears that evidently Marrakech is constructed round Djemma el-Fna. The massive irregular sq. leads on one aspect to the souks. Slender, crowded alleys stuffed with stalls promoting carpets, spices, metallic and wooden works and vacationer trinkets, the souks sprawl by the Medina like an enormous maze. It’s merely not potential to browse the stalls peacefully. Something greater than a second’s look on the wears on supply might simply lead to a prolonged dialog with an keen market dealer and earlier than it, you have purchased your self a carpet or some spices.

Surrounding the sq. are quite a few cafes the place you’ll be able to sit at a desk and watch over the exercise, or head to the rooftop tables and take within the view from above of the sq. and the labyrinth medina that surrounds it.

Meals and Drink

By day in Djemma el-Fna, orange juice and date sellers abound. Because the solar units, meals carts roll in and arrange in the course of the sq. and it is not lengthy earlier than smoke fills the air and hawkers seem from nowhere earnestly attempting to persuade you that their stall is the perfect, providing essentially the most scrumptious delicacies. All method of Moroccan delicacies are on supply. From snails and couscous to kebabs and sheep’s heads.


Djemma el-Fna could be nothing with out its characters. The ever current water sellers gown in brilliant costumes and fortunately pose for images (for a price in fact). In the meantime musicians, story tellers, snake charmers, acrobats, monkey trainers, tooth pullers and henna artists all compete to your consideration (and cash). Those that earn a residing from the vacationer greenback have learnt the artwork of light persuasion, and when that fails, not so light persistence.

Greater than a sight to behold, Djemma el-Fna is an expertise to not be missed. It’s really like no different place on earth. A symphony of sounds, sights and smells. It’s symbolic of Morocco itself: unique, intense, generally troublesome, however at all times rewarding.

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