Marrakesh, a Must see in Morocco

Marrakesh is Morocco’s fourth largest city -the only one located towards the south of the country- and as such, it attracts merchants and traders from the surrounding plains, High Atlas and Sahara, turning Marrakesh’s Markets into a world of considerable variety of arts & crafts from different regions: babouche (leather slippers), wallets, purses, and other leather work items, rugs & carpets, textiles, apothecary stuff, jewelry, and lamps are some of the things you will encounter.
Marrakesh’s highlights are definitely its Souqs (Markets) and the big central square of the medina (old city) called Djemaa el-Fna , from which you can see all the terracotta buildings that are so characteristic of this city.


Marrakesh’s Interesting Sights

Snake Charmer at Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Snake Charmer at Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco. | Source
Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco. | Source
Dry Fruit Stall (dates, figs, prunes, raisins, you name it) at Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Dry Fruit Stall (dates, figs, prunes, raisins, you name it) at Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco. | Source
Fresh Orange Juice Stall at Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Fresh Orange Juice Stall at Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco. | Source
Work of a Henna Artist at Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Work of a Henna Artist at Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh, Morocco. | Source

Djemaa el-Fna

This is where everything happens, it is a very lively unique square where you will experience through all five senses the most unusual and folkloric traditions of Morocco. Although it is lively at any hour of the day, Djemaa el-Fna reaches its peak activity at dusk when open-air food stalls start selling their aromatic dishes for dinner. Nevertheless, you will find dry fruit and fresh juice stalls, henna artists and snake charmers all throughout the day.
You should be warned that there are hustlers and unofficial guides that will try to get money from you in any way they can, remember this is a city with little money and a large population. The best approach is to ignore unwanted attention entirely and they will soon go away. You don’t need a guide to show you around the square nor for visiting the Markets, so just kindly say “no thanks” once and keep on walking. At first, we where quite overwhelmed by the stupid stunts we got into, for example, this nice snake charmer caught are attention and approached very friendly suggesting we took a picture of his snake, after we did he wanted to charge us 200Dh for the photograph we took (the one here on the right). So, piece of advice, don´t take anything the seller gives you unless you have already agreed to the amount of money you are going to pay for the good or service, nothing is free. Travelling in Morocco is a bit strong at the beginning but once you get used to it and get the hang of how to handle the pressure you will find it an extraordinary experience never to be lived again and you will cherish its memories, hustlers and all included.


There are several touristic restaurants at Djemm el-Fna with second floor terraces where you can have a pretty good view of the square both at day time or at night. The food is just western stuff but the view is worth at least one visit.


The henna tattoo turns out lovely after the henna paste is removed. It stays for about 2 weeks in an orange color.


Souqs in Marrakesh

The souqs (markets) of Marrakesh are a very nice shopping experience that showcase the different crafts of Morocco. You will see the artisans work in wood, leather, silk, metals, stones, camel wool, fruits and nuts, on and on, all in very creative forms full of color. The streets within the market are wide and spacious and allow you to take a glimpse of everything that is in offer from afar. The vendors are quite friendly and if you want to win their hearts try speaking to them in Arabic, a short phrase, a word or two will be very much appreciated and will create a better atmosphere for negotiations.
The souqs are quite labyrinthic but you really don’t need a guide to show you around, it is much better to walk around and go wherever the flow takes you, trust me, you will not get lost.


"Souqs" or Markets of Marrakesh

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sweets Vendor, Marrakesh Market or Souq, Morocco.Carpets and Wool Hats, I bought myself one and it is excellent for cold weather, it keeps you very warm. Marrakesh, Morocco.Spices Vendor, Marrakesh's Market or Souq, Morocco.Textiles Vendor, Marrakesh's Market or Souq, Morocco.Apothecary on the background. I am holding a tajin shaped basket thing that we use at home to keep tortillas warm. Marrakesh, Morocco.Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.Camel Wool Dyed in Different Colors, Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.Lamps and Camel Wool Bags. I exchanged a western polyester military green bag for the green camel wool bag the vendor is holding in his hand. Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.
Sweets Vendor, Marrakesh Market or Souq, Morocco.
Sweets Vendor, Marrakesh Market or Souq, Morocco. | Source
Carpets and Wool Hats, I bought myself one and it is excellent for cold weather, it keeps you very warm. Marrakesh, Morocco.
Carpets and Wool Hats, I bought myself one and it is excellent for cold weather, it keeps you very warm. Marrakesh, Morocco. | Source
Spices Vendor, Marrakesh's Market or Souq, Morocco.
Spices Vendor, Marrakesh's Market or Souq, Morocco. | Source
Textiles Vendor, Marrakesh's Market or Souq, Morocco.
Textiles Vendor, Marrakesh's Market or Souq, Morocco. | Source
Apothecary on the background. I am holding a tajin shaped basket thing that we use at home to keep tortillas warm. Marrakesh, Morocco.
Apothecary on the background. I am holding a tajin shaped basket thing that we use at home to keep tortillas warm. Marrakesh, Morocco. | Source
Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.
Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco. | Source
Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.
Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco. | Source
Camel Wool Dyed in Different Colors, Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.
Camel Wool Dyed in Different Colors, Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco. | Source
Lamps and Camel Wool Bags. I exchanged a western polyester military green bag for the green camel wool bag the vendor is holding in his hand. Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.
Lamps and Camel Wool Bags. I exchanged a western polyester military green bag for the green camel wool bag the vendor is holding in his hand. Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco. | Source
Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.
Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco. | Source

One of many Moroccan Crafts

Silk Crafts. Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco.
Silk Crafts. Souq of Marrakesh (crafts market), Morocco. | Source

Shopping in Souqs

When shopping in the souqs, prepare yourself for some hard-selling as well. Shop owners size up their clients and apply different prices according to how much cash and how little sense they credit you with. Shop around to compare prices before buying anything. You must always haggle. Do not settle for the first price they give you, it could come down as low as 50% off the initial price. When a seller is pushing the sell to much, try to remain polite, calm and firm and remember that you are the customer and are under no obligation to buy anything. However, don’t spend a lot of time in any one shop nor touch the merchandise unless you are seriously interested in buying it. I know this sounds a bit scary but once you have this information you will arrive in Marrakesh far better prepared than we were and you will be less bothered by the hard-selling and hustlers.


Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakesh, Morocco. | Source

Koutoubia Mosque

As you wonder around Djemaa el-Fna, you will see a big terracotta tower that belongs to Koutoubia Mosque, the mosque’s tower is called a Minaret, and this one stands 70 meters tall, visible for miles in any direction. It is a classic representation of Moroccan-Andalucian architecture and its features are mirrored in many other minarets throughout the country. This minaret is a landmark of Marrakesh both at day time or at night when illuminated against the black desert sky.


Geography and Roadmap of Morocco

show route and directions
A markerMarrakesh -
Marrakesh, Morocco
[get directions]

B markerEssaouira -
Essaouira, Morocco
[get directions]

C markerOuarzazate -
Ouarzazate, Morocco
[get directions]

Where to go in Morocco?

Moroccan Air-Services.
Moroccan Air-Services. | Source

Top Ranked Travel Guides for Morocco

National Geographic Traveler: Morocco
National Geographic Traveler: Morocco

Sometimes Lonely Planet is not as good as it is supposed to be, I'd rather give a chance to National Geografic

 
Moroccan Arabic: Lonely Planet Phrasebook
Moroccan Arabic: Lonely Planet Phrasebook

This is a good tool if you want to learn some basic Moroccan Arabic and have fun interacting with Moroccans

 

Which is your favorite Destination in Morocco?

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Comments on "Marrakesh, a Must see in Morocco" 16 comments

CyclingFitness profile image

CyclingFitness 5 years ago from Nottingham UK

I love Marrakesh although it does take some time to get used to the hustle and bustle- particularly the motorbikes which go everywhere- including the souks! What did you buy in the souks? And do you feel you got a good price? I ended up 'losing' my old digital watch in exchange for a very nice plate at one souk stall.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 5 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi CF, I actually bought several things for what I regard as very good prices (and consider that I think in Mexican pesos, which are extremely devaluated). The trick was to learn some Moroccan Arabic and use all my charm. Three of my favorite souvenirs are a tajin made of wicker (which I use to keep tortillas warm), a thick 100% wool cap and a wooden spoon.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

....hello Claudia - what a world traveler you must be not to mention a first rate tour guide and of course such an excellent writer who is very passionate about how others live, love and laugh - actually I must post this to my Facebook page too with a direct link back here - you'll be famous there in no time and they'll say to Epi - hey when is Claudia gonna get her own world travel cable show - lol

lake erie time ontario canada 6:10am


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 5 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi epigramman, wow! How nice of you to say that! :) Thank you very very much, I really appreciate all your comments and am particularly glad that you sensed the passion I imprint in my hubs. You've made my day (9:48 am in Mexico City).


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Very interesting article with a lot of good information on tackling the trade in Morocco. Enjoyable.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 5 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi PegCole17, thanks for dropping by and commenting, I appreciate you doing so.


LadyLyell profile image

LadyLyell 4 years ago from George, South Africa

I enjoyed reading your article and the photos were interesting. Our family visited Morocco many years ago and this brought back many memories, thanks!


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi LadyLyell, thanks for your interest and comments. Morocco, and especially Marrakesh, is quite a unique adventure for a foreigner, isn't it? Of course you lived in South Africa and must have visited lots of interesting places in Morocco and other countries in Africa. It was nice to meet you again and thanks for dropping by.


lisa42 profile image

lisa42 4 years ago from Sacramento

I'd love to visit Morocco!


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi lisa42, I really hope you do travel to Morocco someday and get to visit Marrakesh and all the rest of its wonderful cities and lovely towns. Thanks for your comment.


StellaSee profile image

StellaSee 4 years ago from California

Hi Claudia I love your photos from the souqs in Marakesh! I never thought about visiting Morocco but now I want to see the tapestries and the mounds of spices and just experience that kind of exotic feeling. Great hub!


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi StellaSee, thanks for dropping by and for your lovely comments and input. I am with you, Marrakesh, and Morocco in general is everything the word "exotic" can bring to mind. I hope you can experience it firsthand someday.


travelholidays profile image

travelholidays 3 years ago from India

Interesting hub . Informative about 'Souqs in Marrakesh' thanks for sharing this :)


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 3 years ago from Mexico Author

My time in Marrakesh was a fantastic adventure and I love to share my own personal photographs and the things I learn there with fellow travel enthusiasts, thus it is my pleasure to share it with you. The Souqs are one of Marrakesh´s highlight and they couldn´t be left out. Thanks for your interest.


James-wolve profile image

James-wolve 3 years ago from Morocco

Yeah it is a beautiful city.It seems you enjoyed your time here.I guess you have missed the hustle bustle of the city!

Voted up


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 3 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi James-wolve, thanks for dropping by and for your input. Our time in Marrakesh, in Morocco in general, was exactly right. We visited the country in December when there are not so many tourists as it is cold, but I am glad we missed the hustle and bustle of the city because I am not a fan of being totally crowded. We met many Moroccans though and had the time to chat with them and share many laughs. It was a fantastic trip!

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