Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech © Boris Macek
What it lacks in beauty, the large town square of Marrakech, Djemaa el-Fna (Square of the Dead), makes up for with a pulsating liveliness that belies its name. Every day the square is a colourful circus of performing artists where snake charmers, musicians, storytellers and healers vie with each other to be noticed by the milling crowds; every evening food stalls take over and the competition is fierce among them for the passing trade, with everything from boiled snails and sheep's heads to thick vegetable soup, kebabs or fresh salads on offer. Freshly squeezed orange juice stalls stand side by side encircling the market and offer a refreshing drink both day and night. The square is a fascinating place to sit a while at one of the surrounding cafes, watching the swirling parade. The square is also the gateway to the souks (bazaars) of Marrakech, tucked away in the surrounding labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys. It is easy to lose your way, but well worth exploring the plethora of craftsmen offering their wares. Bargain for anything from water mugs and dates to exotic Moroccan carpets. The souks are also well shaded from the searing Moroccan sun and therefore provide a respite from the heat.
Travellers should be on the alert for petty crime as pick-pocketers are known to operate in the square.