The heartbeat of Marrakech is undoubtedly the souks or markets within the old medina. Entering through the cahotic Jeema El Fna, the central square in the city, the souks turn for their scores of labyrinthine alleys. Welcome to an exotic and amazing world where you can find everything you have never imagined.
There’s the whiff of mint and incense, the flavor of spices, nuts and figs, and the dazzling eye-catching colours of rich carpets, intricate lanterns and leather accessories. Even if you’re not into shopping, the souks are still a spectacle well worth experiencing.
Artisans grouped by guilds: dyers, basket makers and ironmongers are some of the trades that come together in the souks. There’s also a cooperative for women who work in beautiful coloured fabrics and all sort of ointments.
It’s here that you can take part in the thrill of haggling. Try your hand at leaving and saying you’ll come back to instantly knock a few dirhams off the price.
An assortment of life exotic animals can be found in some of the souks. Chameleons packed in plastic boxes, black dancing cobras and chained birds of prey are some of the unfortunate animals I saw. It’s totally advisable not to purchase them.
Nice rooftop cafes are located in the area such as ‘Cafe des Epices’ where you can take a break during your shopping and taste a delicious mint tea while having a panoramic view of the old city.
Open from around 9am to 9pm, the best time to enjoy the souks is in the cool of morning, or in the evening when the sun seeps. Otherwise the experience could be hectic and stressful.