Donkey Crossing

Welcome to Donkey Crossing! Donkey Crossing is an on-line account of one Limey and one Yank living one Dream. From September 2006 until the end of 2007, we plan to visit friends and family on five continents and immerse ourselves into various cultures, natural phenomena and ways of life. We hope you enjoy our tales and visit often! Cheers, Jason and Rachel Napoli

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Marrakech and the Djemaa el-Fna

In contrast to the cosmopolitan disappontment of Casablanca, we found Marrakech to be full of sensational flavor, vibrancy, culture and beauty. The main attraction to Marrakech is the Djemaa el-Fna, a circus-like plaza at the entrance of the walled medina full of delicious culinary surprises, an eclectic array of entertainment and quite possibly the greatest people watching venue in the world.
A view overlooking the Djemaa el-Fna at dusk.
The array of entertainment includes acrobats, storytellers, snake charmers, musicians, fortune tellers, henna artists, natural healers, monkey acts and much more.

A storyteller uses a horned prop to help captivate his audience.

This particular snake appeared to be more annoyed than "charmed".

The food on offer in the Djemaa el-Fna is an experience for all fans of fine cuisine. From a steaming bowl of peppery snails, to a finely braised sheep's brain, the constantly smoking food stalls are resaon alone to visit the plaza night after night.

A snail vendor stirs up his delicacy with the care of a master chef.

Mmmmm...fresh raw meat ready for some grilling action!

Olive, anyone?


Apart from the Djemaa el-Fna, we found plenty of other attractions to occupy our time. Marrakech is also home to the Jardin Marjorelle, a beautiful lush garden acting as a peaceful bastion away from the hustle of a sometimes hectic urban scene.

A view of the Jardin Marjorelle, currently owned and preserved by the famed French designer Yves Saint Laurent. We didn't run into Yves, but saw some of his wares for sale in the jardin's posh "boutique".

Another attraction are the Saadian Tombs, a place of final rest for the royal and well-to-do of the past.

A few of the Saadian tombs decorated with typical mosaic tiles.

And one final landmark worth noting is the Koutoubia Mosque, with it's pleasantly lit minaret shining nightly. It can be seen from nearly every major boulevard in the city and we found it quite handy for geographical orientation.

The Koutoubia minaret at nightfall.

Marrakech fulfilled and exceeded many of our expectations. It's a place that shouldn't be missed and will most likely end up dragging you back for more.


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