He said the American writer and composer Paul Bowles, “Without the Jemaa el Fna, Marrakech will be a city like any other.” But it is not a city like any other. The square, in addition to the geographical, social, cultural, economic and emotional development of the city, is an absolutely unique in the world. Its vibrant and diverse atmosphere, the idiosyncrasies of their shows and miscellaneous cultural, social and ethnic leave an indelible mark in each of its visitors. The Jemaa el Fna square, dating from the eleventh century, is the main square of Marrakech and the most famous Ochre City. It is a few meters from the Koutoubia minaret, built by the Almoravids in the twelfth century and served as a model for the Giralda of Seville, and annually hosts more than one million tourists, in addition to attending countless permanent marraquechis .
There are several hypotheses about the name of the plaza. The word “djemaa” means “mosque” in Arabic, but also concerns any place of assembly and congregation. However, the term “fna” is somewhat more mysterious, it refers to the idea of nothingness and death. In this sense, the two main theories philological point to two possible translations: the first would refer to a now-defunct mosque Almoravid and means “place of the destroyed mosque”, the other much more macabre, would result in “assembly of the dead “in reference to executions and the severed heads on display there. Jemaa el Fna is one of the largest public plazas and vibrant in the world, besides being, as noted by the writer Juan Goytisolo in his article The Arabian Nights of Djemaa el Fna, “the only place on earth where all days a year musicians, storytellers, dancers, minstrels and bards act before a large crowd and constantly renewed. ” Distractions in the square are numerous and curious and include, among others, snake charmers, henna tattoo artists, storytellers, fortune tellers, clerks, transvestite dancers, acrobats, or spiritual teachers giving the lessons, itinerant dentists, water carriers, Barbary monkey tamers, musicians of all kinds, carnival rides, magicians and dealers potions traditional.
In addition to the constant and varied entertainment, the plaza is full of food stands that proliferate in the late afternoon and is surrounded by numerous cafes and restaurants. Next to the plaza opens the largest souks throughout Morocco, organized according to the names of the various trades and crafts or products offered: spices, jewelry, wrought iron, cosmetics, carpets, etc.. Jemaa el Fna has suffered numerous attacks throughout its history and its original size has been reduced gradually and significantly. Early efforts to preserve the square date from 1922, in which a royal decree stated that the plaza was a place to protect the urban greed. But the square continued to suffer cement attacks until, thanks to the intense effort of the writer Juan Goytisolo to preserve their cultural heritage threatened by real estate speculation or, as his own term, was considered in 2001 by UNESCO as the first Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. We earnestly invite you to visit this unique place and unique, where Hitchcock filmed several sequences of his film “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and whose oral heritage and cultural world are a real privilege. The are inexpensive and high quality, and can stay in one of the charming and typical, often situated close to the square universal.