Discover the Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech

jamee el fna square marrakech article by maroc maker

The Jemaa el Fna Square alone is worth the trip to Marrakech. A real open-air theater piece, you will be amazed! We tell you the history of this place, where to eat on Jemaa el Fna square, the essentials… and the little anecdote at the end of the article! In short, everything you need to know to visit Jemaa el Fna place, its stands and restaurants in 2024.

The History of the Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech

Jemaa el Fna would mean “Assembly of the dead”, at the time when criminals were beheaded in the square, and their heads exposed for all to see as an example. Another legend gives it the meaning “Place de la Mosquée-Annéeantie”, in reference to an old mosque dating from the Saadian era.

What we are sure of is that Place Jemaa el Fna was a bus station and a permanent flea market until the early 1980s. An extension of the souks where buses, merchants and onlookers mixed together: a veritable poorly organized bazaar, almost dangerous. A fire followed by a decree chased the merchants from the temple, who were replaced by itinerant merchants. The Jemaa el Fna square then became pedestrian (and therefore much more pleasant) to the great pleasure of Marrakchis… and tourists!

marrakech jamee lefna nuit

What to do at Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech?

During the day, there’s not much going on there: a few juice sellers in full sun, and Marrakchis crossing the square at a hurried pace… But at the end of the afternoon, the party can begin! We give you 4 things to do in 2024 on the Jemaa el Fna Square, to keep a lasting memory…

1 – Have a drink on one of the rooftops

    At sunset, the magic happens! We (strongly) advise you to take a little height and sit on one of the panoramic terraces all around the Jemaa el Fna Square. Whether you prefer Moroccan tea, iced soda or refreshing beer, there is something for everyone. From up there, you will have a breathtaking view of the entire Jemaa el Fna place which wakes up under a blazing sun: magnificent!

    jamee lefna marrakech dish repas morocco

    2- Eat in one of the stands in the middle of the square

    A little hungry? There is no doubt about it, it is a festival of smells and gourmet scents that hover above the Jemaa el Fna Square. Mingle with the crowd and join the covered stands below. You will not be comfortably seated there and you will not eat better there than elsewhere. But ultimately, this is not the most important thing since the magic of the stands at Place Jemaa el Fna lies in the friendly atmosphere that reigns there.

    Different touts will gently try to convince you to join their stand, choose the one you want, they are all equal. You eat there on wooden benches (elbow to elbow with your neighbors), and the food is not pretentious: soups, salads, couscous, tagines, grills, skewers, etc. It’s authenticity without taking any guesswork. head that awaits you in the heart of the stands of Place Jemaa el Fna.

    Little info: None of these restaurants serve alcohol, but we advise you to try ginseng tea (in the large copper vats): perfect for digestion!

    3- Visit Jemaa el Fna Square with a guide

    What’s better than a guide to visit Jemaa el Fna place? Maroc Maker will tell you all the legends, little anecdotes and other unusual stories around this place. He will take you to taste the best specialties, and find lovely souvenirs 100% made in Marrakech. Visiting Jemaa el Fna place can be a little confusing, and it’s very reassuring to do it with a local guide who knows the area like the back of his hand!

    marocmaker-moroccan souk maroc (3)

    4- Attend street shows in the evening

    Just like the strip in Las Vegas, or Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, Marrakech also has its 100% free outdoor show scene. At nightfall, the actors in a completely crazy play get into action: fortune tellers, snake showers, henna tattoo artists, monkey showers, etc… For this part, we recommend that you watch from a distance, the animals are not really trained, and the henna is not of the best quality. On the other hand, approach without fear the small groups of musicians, acrobats and Berber artists, you will not have enough of the evening to enjoy it!

    Exercise caution: While Jemaa el Fna placeis a superb outdoor spectacle, it also brings its share of pickpockets! You just need to take a few precautions:

    • Carry around with a reasonable amount of money in cash;
    • Keep your bag in front of you (the fanny pack or shoulder bag are very suitable);
    • Put the strap of your cameras and other GoPros around your wrist or neck.

    Little anecdote about the Jemaa el Fna Square

    Did you know that the Jemaa el Fna Square in Marrakech was listed by UNESCO? Indeed, since 2001, it has been declared a masterpiece of the oral heritage of humanity. It is not for its rather banal architecture, but for its atmosphere which gives the Jemaa el Fna place all its splendor!

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