Morocco has many tourist destinations, but the city of Marrakesh is one of its most famous and popular destinations. And there lies Jemaa el Fna Square which is the city’s main square and a major marketplace; it’s located in the medina quarter which is seen as the old city.
Name origin and history of Jemaa el Fna Square:
The square is located where there was once an Almoravid mosque that was destroyed about 100 years ago. The origin of its name has diverse meanings, ’Assembly of the Dead’ and ’Mosque at the End of the World’. One explanation is that it was the site of public executions around Ad 1050.To its left lies, Rue Moulay Ismail and on its east is Rue Riad Zitoun el-Kedim Jemaa el-Fnaa is bordered by Rue Moulay Ismail. It’s also important to know that helps to Oessabin Mosque, the Place de Foucauld, and Place Bab Fteuh are located within its vicinity.
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Some Facts about Jemaa el Fna Square:
The square is an activity filled place during both daylight and night but comes more alive during the night. During daytime you can watch the snake charmers go about their business, although clearly ethically questionable you can see monkeys in cages or chains being used for entertainment. And be on the lookout when walking around the square during daytime as there is a lot of traffic comprising of motorbikes, cars as well as horse drew carriages around the plaza’s perimeter.
It’s also of importance to be able to keep your pockets safe from the pickpockets who are active especially after sunset and as well as gropers. To get a good view of the night action, it’s better to arrive early in the evening so that you can get a seat which are really makeshift seats around the musician’s circles.
At night, the square comes alive with musical performance, acrobats and comedians doing their thing. The restaurants are then opened as the human population soars each wanting to get a glimpse of the action as well as getting a bite here, now and then. There are also henna tattoo artists and water sellers who always invite the people to get a feel of their drink or tattoo.
UNESCO world heritage site and Jemaa el Fna Square
The United Nations (UN) under its agency UNESCO which is the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has declared the Jemaa el Fnaa a world heritage site hence giving it special status. UNESCO’s main purpose is to ensure that traditional practices continue to exist while advocating against mass tourism in the midst of standardization of culture, industrialization and armed conflict. It’s a fact that the traditional street theater that once existed is slowly giving way to the modern form of entertainment such as the acrobats. And add up to the fact that it’s located in a city that has modernity such that the square is located in its old city. It’s a place that is of its ancient heritage and the modern time with many tourists knocking on its doors now and then. This is a place where you cannot to miss the atmosphere and the warmth of the place.