Djemaa el Fna
at 3:00 PM in the afternoon
Djemaa el Fna
Djemaa el Fna (Arabic: جامع الفناء jāmiʻ al-fanāʼ) is a square and market place in Marrakesh's medina quarter (old city). The origin of its name remains unknown : it means Assembly of the dead in Arabic, but as the word djemaa also means mosque in Arabic, it could also mean place of the vanished mosque, in reference to a destroyed Almoravid mosque.
The place remains the main square of Marrakesh, used equally by locals and tourists. During the day it is predominantly occupied by orange juice stalls, youths with chained Barbary apes, water sellers in colorful costumes with traditional leather water-bags and brass cups, and snake charmers who will pose for photographs for tourists. As the day progresses the entertainments on offer change: the snake charmers depart, and in the afternoon and evening the square becomes more crowded, with Chleuh dancing-boys (it would be against custom for girls to provide such an entertainment), story-tellers (telling their tales in Berber or Arabic, to an audience of appreciative locals), magicians, and peddlers of traditional medicines. As dark descends the square fills with dozens of food-stalls, and the crowds are at their height.
The square is edged along one side by the Marrakech souk, the traditional North African markets which service both the common daily needs of the people of the city, and the tourist trade. On other sides are cafe terraces to escape from the noise and confusion down in the square, and on yet other sides are hotels and gardens. Narrow streets lead into the alleys of the medina quarter, the old city. The photograph illustrating this article shows the entrance to the souk at the left, cafes in the centre, and the entrance to the medina via the Street of the Olive (derb al zitoun) on the right.
Once a bus station, the place was closed to traffic in the early 2000s. The authorities are well aware of its importance to the tourist trade, and a strong but discreet police presence ensures the safety of visitors.
The award-winning documentary "Morocco: The Past and Present of Djemma el Fna" features the storytellers, musicians, acrobats and snake charmers of this celebrated crossroads of Arab and Berber cultures, with historical commentary provided by the noted Moroccan scholar Hamid Triki.
Text from Wikipedia
called to prayer
can write your letter for a fee
restaurants on carts
portable dining area
lasso a drink bottle
the crowd at dusk
People and Places