Djemaa el-Fna Square is the bustling hub of Marrakech. What begins as a square with a few pedestrians and loads of orange juice stands during the day, turns into a packed market place with food stands, snake charmers and dancers at night. I think it is virtually impossible to visit the city and miss it but sometimes it can get too much.
With everyone trying to sell you something, Djemaa el-Fna Square not somewhere you can simply relax but there is a way of enjoying it and keeping stress to a minimum.
During the day, you can explore the adjacent souk, buying your weight in souvenirs, from carpet bags to tagine pots and decorative bowls and plates. You can then quench your inevitable thirst, gained from the boiling sun, at one of the orange juice stands in the square which are ridiculously good.
As the evening comes, the orange juice stands are replaced by food stalls. I was slightly dubious about eating from places that had meat and vegetables lying out on platters but it was delicious. These stands then become surrounded by the night time entertainment and this is the time to leave the ground and head up into the air.
The square is surrounded by buildings, at least one of which has a rooftop bar. This is where I went – it was cooler and the perfect place for a drink and a view. From the roof terrace, you can see the hustle and bustle unfold below. You can hear the music, see the smoke and watch the entertainers from afar, catching things you just can easily miss if you are standing in the middle of everything.
In the square, I had people demand money from me, a child swear at me for not buying the toys he was selling, a woman try to grab me and put henna on me (thankfully she failed so I didn’t have to pay up) and a guy followed me, and I’m pretty tried to curse me, when I refused to give him money. However, looking down at Djemaa el-Fna Square from a sky bar in the dusky evening is like a whole different world.