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Marrakech: Jemaa El-Fna Photo Tour

The central square of Marrakech Jemaa El-Fna is one of the best places to see Morocco as it is and meet the Moroccans as they are.

Times change but the show on this old square goes on. The Moroccans still keep to their old traditions and cultural heritage which made UNESCO take Jemaa el-Fna on their World Heritage list.

In cooperation with: Moroccan National Tourist Office

Evening food stall on UNESCO listed Jemaa el-Fna

Moroccan culinary traditions in Jemaa el-Fna

Jemaa el-Fna is the center and the symbol of Marrakech. A chaotic place that every visitor to this North African country should see.

A Short History of Jemaa el-Fna

What most tourists don’t even think about is what the square’s name tells: in the local language Jemaa el-Fna means Assembly of the Dead. The name is a sign of the square’s gruesome past. The Marrakech central square originally was a place for executions and heads of criminals were often hanging here on spikes.

I’m happy for not understanding the Moroccan language. If I did, I would maybe not have come this square.

Jemaa el-Fna: watching shows and meeting friends

The square of Jemaa el-Fna, Marrakech: watching shows and meeting friends

The focus of the square then changed. It became a marketplace and an open area dining place for the locals. Marketplace at daytime and a show place at nights. The place in Marrakech where everybody comes to share their stories, dine and watch showmen together with family and friends.

The UNESCO Listed Jemaa el-Fna

Preparing Moroccan food, Jemaa el-Fna

Preparing Moroccan food on the UNESCO listed squarew

Snake charmers, monkey trainers, folk musicians, fortune tellers, tooth pullers – and Moroccan food. Such a variety of shows going on that there was a reason for UNESCO to take Jemaa el-Fna on their list.

That was for the rich cultural heritage and the ways it’s expressed on the square: music, dance, food, rituals and mythologies. By taking objects on their list UNESCO wants to encourage communities to preserve their own heritage.

The specific list where Jemaa el-Fna is included is called Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The list contains a long row of remarkable cultural environments. You will find the whole list on the UNESCO website.

Jemaa el-Fna on the Map


The map shows you the irregular square of Jemaa el-Fna in the old town (Medina) of Marrakech.

On the north side of the square are the bazaars, called souks, also a place you should see. And at the opposite end is the Koutobia Mosque, a  prominent Marrakech landmark and the highest building in the pink desert city.

Entering the square, these horse carriage men will approach you and offer you a ride. But you won’t need that to get to the square. But it’s good if you want to see the city.

Man, horse and carriage, Jemaa el-Fna

A man with his horse and carriage

So now the photo tour:

Jemaa el-Fna Photo Tour

Locals walking on Jemaa el-Fna, Marrakech

Locals on a walk on the UNESCO listed square in Marrakech

Koutobia Mosque

Koutobia mosque, the highest building of Marrakech next to the square

Man and truck, Jemaa el-Fna

The square is in a walking zone. Despite that there are cars, bikes, trucks, carriages, donkeys and horses.

Women shopping on Jemaa el-Fna

Local women shopping on the central square of Marrakech

One of the Jemaa el-Fna stalls

Wonder what this stall sells?

Sellers on the Jemaa el-Fna square

These men are selling healing products. 

Horse and carriage, Jemaa el-Fna

A horse and carriage on the central square of Marrakech

Bike on the Jemaa el-Fna square

A bike with a full load

Jemaa el-Fna central square, Marrakech

More bikes, pink buildings and a small mosque

Locals on the Jemaa el-Fna square

A Marrakech couple walking on the square

Jemaa el-Fna marketplace, Marrakech

Life on the square

African seller on the Jemaa el-Fna square

A lonely salesman and some rubbish on the ground

Street cleaner, Jemaa el-Fna

Cleaning the square from all rubbish 

Man and his phone crossing Jemaa el-Fna

Man with his phone walking across the heritage square

Jemaa el-Fna fruit stall

A marketplace with fruit stalls

Jemaa el-Fna date stall

Next door I found this date and nut stall

Jemaa el-Fna date stall

Moroccan dates and dried fruits at display

Jemaa el-Fna date seller

Everything perfectly organized

Jemaa el-Fna pomegranate seller

Fruits displayed in neat piles

The Square in the Evening

Afternoon sun on Jemaa el-Fna

Marrakech, Morocco in afternoon sun

Evening food stalls, Jemaa el-Fna

Food stalls start opening at dusk

Preparing Moroccan food on Jemaa el-Fna

All stalls start preparing Moroccan food

Preparing couscous, Jemaa el-Fna

Is my couscous ready to be served?

Preparing Moroccan couscous

Just perfect. Hot and tasty.

Stall selling Moroccan dishes

Waiting for more clients

Evening on the square of Marrakech

Fruit sellers stay here all day long.

Dates and dried fruits on Jemaa el-Fna

Want some dates and dried fruits for dessert?

Evening fruit stalls

Buying some fresh fruit

Food stall on UNESCO listed Jemaa el-Fna, Marrakech

Locals having a discussion on the UNESCO listed square

Food stall on the UNESCO listed square of Marrakech

Food stall on the heritage square of Marrakech

Lanterns on the UNESCO listed square

Lanterns, mosque and a square side restaurant

Evening in Marrakech

Jemaa el-Fna soon closing

Restaurant Le Salama, Marrakech

Restaurant Le Salama just off the square, dining and belly-dance shows


More about Jemaa el-Fna and Marrakech

So this was my Jemaa el-Fna photo tour, hope you liked the views. For even more photos on Jemaa el-Fna check out this post: The Top Things to Do in Marrakech.

For the souks north of the square check out the post Getting Lost in the Souks of Marrakech.

A Marrakech snake charmer

Two snake charmers at work

My trip to Morocco was made possible by Moroccan National Tourist Office, in whose press trip I participated. All opinions expressed in this blog post, however, are my own.

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