Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Morocco 2014 - Jemaa El Fna square

Jemaa El Fna Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its unique historical and cultural heritage. Visiting it is unfortunately a bit like visiting the sideshows at a circus. To me it has become too sanitized and too touristy. It is also a bit spoilt by over-aggressive street acts just after the tourist dollars. While you can’t fault them for trying to make a living - it can be done in a much nicer way. Here before you even ready your camera to take a shot they will be blocking their faces and extending their hands for money. It takes all the fun out of taking pictures.  


Jemaa el Fna is a very big square. At the periphery are the street performers who stake out the most strategic spots for maximum tourist exposure. You should really watch out for pickpockets here. 


At the centre are stalls laid out in neat rows. Most of them are food and drink stalls. There seem to be a predominance of stalls selling sheep and cow innards - complete with the heads any any part of the animal you can think of.


As night falls some of the street performers leave and others arrive with new acts and attractions. The snake charmers seem to be the most popular. After wandering through the chaos of the square - look for a nice cafe with a good vantage point to watch the actions below. As the sky darken, the light from the stalls create a beautiful sight. To me that is the best part of the whole experience.



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