Mansour Eddahbi - Luxury hotel - Experience al bahja in Jemaa el-Fnaa Square

Experience al bahja in Jemaa el-Fnaa Square

You should take some time to sip on a good mint tea at one of the many panoramic terraces in the cafes surrounding the immense Jemaa el-Fnaa Square. Take in Marrakech’s hotspot of popular culture as it gradually fills up with ambulant vendors, artists, and visitors. The clip-clop of the horses’ hooves as they pull the famous green carriages is lost in the cheerful din. You notice the activity slowly stirring. The shrill sound of a flute blends with the metallic chime of the qraqeb, and the tinkle of bells from a guerrab punctuates the indistinct murmur of voices, laughter, and accents from around the world.

The temptation is too strong. You take a walk to experience this serene and friendly buzz. Your path takes you from traditional attractions to craft stalls. Gnawa, snake charmers, naqachats, monkey trainers, dancers, fire-eaters, acrobats, street comedians, public writers, jugglers, herbalists, henna tattoo artists—each one of Morocco’s cultural treasures makes your inner child gasp in wonder.

You are about to get sucked into the Coke bottle game, when a voice from a hlaiqi suddenly catches your ear and, as if drawn by a magnet, you approach the circle. Isn’t that Mohamed Bariz, one of the region’s most famous storytellers? Lose yourself in the astonishing story he tells. There is a reason why halqa storytelling is a long-standing oral tradition that is brought to life again and again by every artist—it is an iconic staple of Jemaa el-Fnaa’s folklore.

Jemaa el-Fnaa is also a place steeped in history, like Café Matich—an institution that no longer exists where local artists, merchants, teachers, curious travelers, and experienced tourists gathered—or the famous protest exhibition held in May 1969, which united big names from the national plastic arts scene, such as Melehi, Belkahia, Atallah, Chebaa, Hamidi, and Hafid.

The entrance to the Medina district and its souks awaits, complete with shops vying to sell you their crafts, including exceptional pieces or souvenir items, wickerwork, jewelry, and leather goods.

The clock is ticking and the afternoon is coming to an end as steam begins to rise from transient food stalls. It’s time for to refuel! You opt for a fresh fruit juice (now called “smoothies” but will always be âssir in Jemaa el-Fnaa) or a cheap restaurant to order a typical dish: a good tangia that melts in your mouth and 100% Marrakech (oh yes!), a plate of chwaya, or a bowl of deliciously seasoned babbouche.

The square is now lit up in a circle of light from the surrounding cafes and shops, as well as the lanterns from food stalls and the portable lamps of street artists. The square will still be buzzing with activity late into the night, where all its wonder will be unveiled when dreams and reality converge.

  • Experience al bahja in Jemaa el-Fnaa Square
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