A Wheel and Away
Mint tea in Morocco

Djemaa El-Fnaa

Marrakech, Morocco


No trip to Marrakech would be complete without a visit to the Djemaa El-Fnaa.  By day, this massive triangular square is home to hundreds of stalls selling everything from rugs to handbags to spices and more.  Buy a handbag made by local people in the tanneries or perhaps you’d rather a traditional Berber lipstick?  Inhale the aromas from the colourful cones of spices on display.  Dodge the snake charmers who will pop a snake around your neck at a moments’ notice.  Motorbikes weave expertly in between the throngs of people, water sellers in their brightly coloured outfits will be adding to the view and women will be creating henna tattoos of all designs.  Grab a fresh orange juice from one of the stalls and just absorb the atmosphere.

The square is ringed by a number of cafes and restaurants which also provide a perfect vantage point just to sit and watch the world go by.

At night, the square becomes home to a wonderful array of activity, including storytellers, belly-dancers, drumming bands and musicians of all types, acrobats and more.  Food stalls spring up from nowhere and are hugely entertaining in themselves as they will try and entice you in with quotes from all manner of popular culture.  The food is incredible – tagines of all kinds, kebabs, huge pots of snails for the more adventurous and more.

The square which was deemed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2001 has been a meeting place since the fourteenth century Everything is on one level with the exception of some of the cafes, although there are plenty that are accessible.  The ground is fairly even and definitely navigable in a wheelchair.  Some of the more permanent stalls are a little short on space inside so while one can definitely get in with a wheelchair, some expert reversing made be called for to get out again!  From the square it is easy to access the souks which, again, are predominantly accessible with only a few steps in odd places.  It’s an amazing place to explore – just be sure to watch out for the motorbikes and donkey carts!