The place that we are going to talk about today is not a beautiful place where one would just go to observe the beauty of it and be charmed with it. There is something different about this place and that is the reason why it being so off the beaten track is still able to attract tourists. I am going to talk about Jemaa el Fna, Marrakech located in Morocco. This place is just opposite to what an ideal tourist destination should be. What are the things which an ideal tourist destination is constituted of? Beauty and adventure at the most basic level. If seen directly, this place lacks both but still to a pagan eye it is the most beautiful and also the most adventurous place to hang around.
Nobody knows how or when did this market area in Morocco came into existence. Not just this, people have also not been able to decipher the meaning of this place’s name. The usual translation of Jemaa el Fna as people say is the ‘assembly of the dead’ or alternatively people also say the ‘mosque of nothing’. As the name suggests the place is very dilapidated and paradoxically on the other bright as well.
Located in Marrakesh, the place gets more than half of it’s identity from it. Marrakesh has been marked as one of the places for world cultural heritage by the UNESCO. What makes it so special and important? This place, Marrakesh, has been a center for most of the political, economic and cultural activities which took place long back during the rise and downfall both, of the Islamic religion. It has got a number of architecturally beautiful monumental doors, gardens, battlements, madarsas and many more in an unending list. Jemaa-el-fna is obviously one of them and is also quiet famous at the same time.
This is probably the only place in Morocco which does not even have to make any great efforts to attract visitors but still the visitors want to keep visiting again and again. During the morning and the afternoon hors one would find a plethora of vendors who basically do not sell any such good but provide remedial solutions to health problems. Some sit their to mend the teeth problems, acting as the yesteryears dentists and some simply to cure diseases. Besides this, one can also get to see snake charmers sitting in a row, performing shows with their elegant friends and partners, snakes.
The Jemaa el fna is basically a simple square piece of plain. The real fun does not begin until the night starts taking it’s toll and it becomes dark. As soon as the sun takes it’s refuge in the night sky the aura of this place gets transformed into a carnival celebration. One will be able to find storytellers, acrobats, musicians and entertainers performing arts and shows one never must have seen before and probably this is the only place where one would get to see it again.
Obviously where so much of entertainment is going on; food cannot be missed out. There is a myrioad collection of harira soup, salads, fried fish, spicy merguez sausages or even the adventurously innovative stewed snails and sheep’s heads complete with eyes. Just take a seat on one of the benches and place an order for food you would like to make. It’s always wise to check the price of a dish before you order because you might just be overcharged. On eshould try and go to a stall where the native moroccan vendors sell food because they do not make any manifestations with their food items and serve what is native to their culture.
Not only this; there is a whole row of fortune tellers who keep calling the customers, sitting with their paraphernelia. Besides this, women for piping could be seen with bags of Henna. One thing that should be kept in mind as a preventive technique is that tourists should be aware of the pickpockets who are found at each and every corner of the market. The reason mainly being the not so good economy of the place and the kind of environment that is all around over there. You would just be roaming around being amused to see such a site and meanwhile your pocked might just get picked.
Jemaa el fna though not very beautiful, has it’s own charm which keeps on making news for itself. It has been featured in many of the movies, the most popular being Alfred Hitchcok’s ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’. UNESCO has declared it to be the masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. What else and more does it need to be recognized now? The othering of this place in itself adds to it’s beauty and the fact that it tantalizes the tourists to visit again and again.