Marrakesh Souk – The Back Story
This intriguing place was once a desert trading post for caravans traversing to and from Timbuktu. It’s certainly more modernised now but, with its extensive labyrinthine of mazes and bustling crowds, it’s truly a heady, magical place oozing with exotic old world charm.
Love Potions, Spices and Haggling – What’s In Store
Dedicated shoppers should allow at least two full days to explore to get past the tourist traps on the main square – the real gold is hidden off the beaten track within the fascinating network of maze-like, narrow laneways. Some of the delights you’ll find include ancient craftsmanship, which you can see being made before bargaining with the craftsperson direct. You’ll find leather being tanned, silver worked by hand, and wool being dyed in steaming vats.
The most interesting time to visit the souk is in the early hours or late afternoon, when you can see local traders haggling over goods. Most stalls are closed in the evenings, although a few stay open until 7pm or so. If you decide to buy, the name of the game is to haggle. As a guide, offer about a third of the original price presented to you and see where negotiations go!
Where It’s At:
Just off the Marrakesh’s central square (Djemaa El Fna)
When It’s At:
Daily, all year round (some souks are closed on Fridays for holy day)
Best time – 5-8am, or 4-5pm when local traders can be seen in action
Moroccan wedding blankets
The softest leather in the world
Rugs, love potions and handcrafts