Immersion in the souks of Marrakesh
Finally spent the hot summer days, I decide to walk the souks of Marrakesh.
Ideal starting point: Jemaa el Fna Square
This one opens directly on these 20 ha of labyrinth with the multiple richnesses where a variegated crowd crosses there; inhabitants in djellaba, young men dressed in the European way, carrioles drawn by a mule with a hanging tongue, tourists of various horizons, beggars, tradesmen, craftsmen… without forgetting the innumerable mopeds constantly using their strident horn.
I rush northwest of Jemaa el Fna Square through the souk Ablueh, the alley to the left of the café “Les Terrasses de l’Alhambra”.
Captivating and colorful entry in matter with its stalls of ceramics and handicraft where, among some, the merchants of dried fruits emerge in the middle of the pyramids of almonds, pistachios, nuts, figs and dried apricots. This one gives, on a small square where the merchants of olives, spices and spices propose their products for some dirhams. Across the street opens the souk Semmarine.
Once occupied by farriers, this wide alley covered with metal racks is one of the main axes of the souks of Marrakesh.
This is the trimmery sector, where shops selling shimmeringly coloured fabrics rub shoulders with a few antique and craft shops, sometimes luxury ones, as well as more and more “made in china” clothing shops.
I discover a great number of worked articles, coloured earthenware, objects covered with stucco, ornamented candles.
Rahba Kedima, the place of spices
Further up, on the right, I take the passage that leads me to a small lively square: Rahba Kedima, known today as the spice square. Here was the sad slave market until 1912.
Today, the square is lined with herbalists offering remedies to all evils, even the most unexpected, some hanging tapestries indicate the entrance of carpet shops. In the centre of this open-air square, I discover straw hat vendors, colourful wool hats and a large number of basketry items: bags, baskets with pointed hats…
I decide to have a mint tea on the spice terrace, in order to perfect my role as a strolling tourist while observing the good child agitation that reigns there.
Just behind, through the only passage, north of the square is the souk Zrabi, the covered market with carpets and djellabas. The calm of the place fades during the auction which takes place every day, except Friday afternoon.
Souk el Kebir and the Kissarias
On the left we reach the extension of the souk Semmarine street which became, at this level, the souk el Kébir. It runs along a series of perpendicular paths: the kissarias, where once, protected by monumental doors, the most precious items were sold.
I discover there all along the derbs covered with ceilings in cedar wood, stalls proposing leather confections or some synthetic fabrics.
At the other end of the galleries, and perpendicularly, opens the souk Smata. This is the paradise of traditional babouches, there floats a good smell of leather in a festival of colors.
A good number of them are manufactured on the spot, while others of very good bills, are imported from Fez.
If the desire for slippers does not come to mind, it will still be possible to afford a nice keychain babouches. For the record, it is in this alley that was turned, in 1955, the scene in which Michèle Morgan leads Pierre brewer in search of a precious pair of babouches, for the adventure film “Oasis”.
From the souk Smata, an alley on the left reaches the souk Attarine: it is the souk of brass. This little street is an authentic Ali Baba cave.
I discover beautiful objects, whose color can be red or yellow, when it is brass, copper alloy and zinc, close to silver for nickel silver articles obtained by a mixture of copper, zinc and nickel.
The atmosphere is supported by the continuous hammering of the dinandiers who shape the metal plates with small instruments. They would later become large trays, teapots, ashtrays or lanterns.
Going up slightly I arrive at the souk Haddadine, the place of blacksmiths and ironworkers.
There, in the midst of the sparks of sparks thrown by the torches and the resounding sound of the beat of the hammers, the craftsmen shape the metal to make elegant wrought-iron railings, beds, tables, chairs or chairs. everyday objects. Few tourists on the horizon in this part of the souks of Marrakesh…
On the left, there is the souk Kimakhine, a short passage where luthiers and makers of musical instruments expertly make oud (Arabic lute), derbouka (Arab drum made of skin stretched over the widest end of a cylinder), guembri (3-string lute)… others are content only to sell the instruments.
Return to Jemaa el Fna by Mouassine
Finally I go down the street Mouassine, quietly, past the famous “Fnaque Berber” small library newly rehabilitated, and Bab Fteuh square a few meters from my starting point: the place Jemaa el Fna.
Jemaa el Fna
Souks and Jemaa el Fna
The souks in accelerated