The vast number of traders visiting Marrakech is a major reason why the medina has so many gates; access to the main part of the city was made easier for merchants. Of course, like anywhere, it was easier for me to feel comfortable in the small towns in Morocco than in the big cities like Casablanca. Traditionally an open-air market that locals relied on for their essential items, a souk would have travelling merchants passing through them once a week, once a month or at other infrequent periods. As with most places where a lot of people congregate, pickpocketing and bag snatching can be a problem. Communities of artisans grew, hence why there were traditionally some souks dedicated to particular goods. It’s easy to get lost in the winding old city streets, as they are poorly marked. The souks, or open air markets, of Marrakech are the largest in the country of Morocco, and one of the most fascinating places in the world to shop. Experience the lively atmosphere of Djemaa el-Fna in the evenings, admire the various monuments and ornate doorways that can be found around the souks, and try local delights from food vendors. Many souks expanded so much that they merged with nearby souks. A “souq” or “souk” is the name given to the markets in Morocco. They have less motivation to leave their shop and more incentive to point you in the right direction. Ancien Souk Tlat is situated in Douar Qachla. Souks are a major feature of Moroccan life and are beamed as the greatest attraction for the travelers. Pottery stalls can be found in abundance – tagine pots in all sizes, serving plates, soup bowls and small tagine-like dip holders are especially common. Shop owners generally can’t leave their premises and are less likely to try and lead you in exchange for payment. The souks run like tentacles from the central madness of Jemaa el-Fna Plaza. But you will be able to smell … A souk is the name given to an Arab market. While these two UNESCO World Heritage Sites are among Morocco’s iconic attractions, the neighborhood souks in … This site has affiliate links that provide us with compensation if you book with them at no extra charge to you to help support the labor it takes to write these posts. They are extremely cheap by US standards and will make sure you don’t get lost or scammed. Getting lost is generally part of the fun of exploring the energetic souks. The Marrakech medina is famous for its souks and some tour agencies even offer tours focused on seeing all the various souks! Required fields are marked *. Absolutely worth it! They are usually green or blue. Marrakech’s strategic location at the heart of Morocco, however, meant that many traders came through the city every day. About Souk & Soul. I fell in love with the country and its people & I want to visit them again. Spoilt for choice in Marrakech’s Olive Souk. Traditionally an open-air market that locals relied on for their essential items, a souk would have travelling merchants passing through them once a week, once a month or at other infrequent periods. souk asni ⵙⵙⵓⵇ ⵏ ⴰⵙⵏⵉ is a marketplace in Morocco. Although this might seem like a blessing, it often ends with you paying a substantial ‘tip’, possibly having also been carted to several stalls, from where the ‘helpful’ stranger is trying to score commission on a sale, on the way. A souq or souk is a marketplace. The tourist souks where you’ll find a variety of treasures are generally inside of the old city walls. You can always take a tour to make traveling easier (and to free up some mental energy for haggling). Locals try to be helpful for the most part, but some less than scrupulous “guides” may try to get you disoriented even further so they can pick up a tip for taking you back to the main square, Jemaa el Fna. If you start to panic and really need to ask somebody for directions, try to approach families or females as opposed to younger men. Merchants who arrived late had to spend the night outside of the protective walls. The constant calls and attempts to entice buyers can become a bit tiresome after a while. Alternatively, use GPS on your mobile devices. Find Us On The trading action took place at Djemaa el-Fna, the city’s large square, with numerous sellers offering an array of goods. For further cultural identification, remove all English words, add a bucket of chaos, and you to… May 13, 2014 - In Morocco, and the Arabic speaking world in general, towns and cities are filled with souks, a large outdoor market. Or, walk until you are outside and can see the towering minaret of Koutoubia Mosque as a reference point. Medinas are full of souks and many of them specialize in one type of goods. At its heart is the medina, the original walled settlement around which the rest of the city was built. The Bab Doukkala gate, for example, was used by merchants from El Jadida, to the northwest of Marrakech, and nearby areas. Ancien Souk Tlat from Mapcarta, the free map. One week ago, I returned from a trip to Casablanca & Marrakech in Morocco. Fasten bags and keep a tight grip. Make sure the guide is licensed. Colourful Ceramics at Marrakech’s Potters’ Souk #4 Visit a Tannery. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. For Americans who are accustomed to walking into a store and having the fixed prices of items clearly displayed this can be a stressful time. This artisan market is a good option if you are intimidated by haggling and still want fine crafted good. Haggling is an essential part of shopping in the souks. Your nose will tell you when you get close to the tanneries, and the proprietors offer fresh mint for you to breathe from as you walk through the tanning vats. While you may not want to buy anything, Souk Sehb Mabrouka offers the chance to see an authentic Moroccan flea market. Souk Smata is the main area to find babouches, also known as the slippers souk. Many are quite affordable. Souk Cherratin specializes in leather goods, including traditional Moroccan babouches (slippers), bags, belts, purses, wallets, and anything else made with leather. Book a small tour to see the best of Marrakech ›. Using donkeys, camels and carts to navigate the labyrinth-like streets of the medina, trading areas close to home made shopping easier for locals. Try to aim for 25%–30% of their first offer. It is in these ancient marketplaces where you will find the business end of Marrakech. Souk can be spelled also Souq and it’s basically a square with a market. Jewelled glassware and ornate tea pots can make a pretty addition to a dining room back home. As the local population grew, vendors started to hold smaller souks close to main communities. The souks, or open air markets, of Marrakech are the largest in the country of Morocco, and one of the most fascinating places in the world to shop. Marketplace Online – In many of the groups for expats online (especially in Facebook) it’s common to see moms selling items they no longer need. If you get lost, ask a shopkeeper for directions. While I only ever write about products I think deserve to be on the pages of our site, Wondrous Paths may earn a small commission if you click through and buy or download the product in question, at no extra cost to you. All kinds of goods can be bought at Marrakech’s souks. They are incredibly beautiful and make you feel like you are staying in a palace. However, don’t agree on a price and then not go through with the sale. The souks were originally known as an open-air marketplace. I highly recommend staying in a local riad if you are in Marrakech. Wandering the souks with a local guide is the best way to explore if you’re concerned about getting lost, especially if time is short. Or, alternatively, before you set out, ask your accommodations if you can hire a guide. However, the hustle and bustle, dry heat and ever-so eager stall holders can begin to overwhelm and start to feel a little relentless after a while. Islamic items of clothing are also found in abundance, such as abayas (a robe-like dress) and head coverings. The medina is the old historic part of town with high stone walls (like you'll see in Marrakesh and Fes) and is divided into Quartiers. Of course, you could also ask somebody to call your accommodation to come and collect you if you’re in a real muddle. Founded in the 11 th century and renowned for its treasure trove of mosques, palaces, and museums, Marrakesh is the most visited of Morocco’s four Imperial Cities. The souk – The quality may not be as good but you can find some decent options for things like onesies and blankets. They can be found all over Northern Africa and even Western Asia. Souk Semmarine is probably the first souk you will encounter as you enter the maze, framed by a large iron trellis and filled with tourist oriented souvenirs. Le Souk: Best Souks in Morocco - See 210 traveler reviews, 408 candid photos, and great deals for Essaouira, Morocco, at Tripadvisor. souk asni ⵙⵙⵓⵇ ⵏ ⴰⵙⵏⵉ is situated nearby to Irz. If road signs and landmarks, such as mosques and monuments, can’t easily be spotted, walk through busier areas until you find a sign or landmark. In smaller towns, the souk might still be a weekly event but in cities like Marrakech and Fez, souks are now a major tourist draw, covering huge areas and selling everything from slippers to carpets, pottery, beauty products and more. Souk Btana is another one with animal goods, filled with freshly treated sheepskins. Pick up a pashmina to complement an outfit. Sitting on important trading routes, people passed through here from the north, south, east and west. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. Alhobous Souk in Casablanca. Vibrantly coloured aromatic spices are often among the first things people think of when imagining the souks of Marrakech. Souk Chouari is the main carpentry souk, primarily with goods made of fragrant cedar wood. A souk is an open-air market. Marrakech’s souks have clothes in all shapes, sizes and colours – from T-shirts, shorts and jeans through to the traditional kaftans and djellabas (a kind of robe). Just four years into independence, the earthquake was an especially traumatic event, but its reconstruction showed modern Morocco at its best, and half a century on, the result is quite impressive. This is why today’s visitors will still find separate areas in some souks – for example in the Carpet Souk close to Rahba Lakdima. The souks are organized by the items sold, and are each named for a specific product type you can find there. Most major streets have signs for their names. Souk. Merchants often travelled by camel or donkey, usually with a heavily laden caravan. […] souks, it’s usually quite affordable and you will inevitably get lost without one. AGADIR was, by all accounts, a characterful port, prior to the terrible earthquake of 1960 that completely destroyed it. Have any stories to share about your visit to Marrakech? Early history of souks in Marrakech A souk is the name given to an Arab market. Neighbourhood souks originally mainly sold everyday essentials. Marrakech’s sweet, tasty orange juice is not to be missed. Before you venture into the souks and markets of Morocco, understand that bargaining for the price of an item is an accepted (and almost obligatory) Morocco shopping practice. Traditional woven Moroccan carpets and handmade Berber boucherouite (rugs) are proudly displayed at numerous stalls. If you would like to learn more, read more at https://paidforadvertising.com/. Full of carpets, brass goods, antiques, spices, and leather, the souks are absolutely a must-add to any bucket list. In general a souk is synonymous with a bazaar or marketplace, and the term souk is used in Arabic-speaking countries. They were originally developed in cities that acquired enough political and economic strength to become essential centers and hubs for national, continental; and transcontinental trade. Morocco is a really easy trip if you’re visiting Europe, especially if you’re in Spain! The prices are set maybe 35% higher than what you would pay in the souk after haggling, but the goods are extremely high quality. Each quartier has a mosque, a hammam (bathhouse), a communal bread oven, a madrasa (educational institution) and a water fountain, which all serve the local community.Souks are the traditional marketplaces and are often divided into sections for the various trades. The Souk Of Morocco. The narrow alleyways, with overflowing items that snake off to more thin passageways with even more goods, can all start to look very similar. Thousands of artisans and … The currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (Dhs). The medina’s large gates opened early in the morning and closed every evening. Moroccan souks began as small gatherings outside city areas where merchants would come to sell their goods. Souk definition at Dictionary.com, a free online dictionary with pronunciation, synonyms and translation. souk asni ⵙⵙⵓⵇ ⵏ ⴰⵙⵏⵉ from Mapcarta, the free map. Thus, the convenience also increased the number of items being bought. For reference, take all the shops in your local mall, and put them into a large network of small streets. In Morocco, the souk is a marketplace: both a social one and a physical goods one.It’s pretty much where most business happens, and once you’ve seen one, you’ll realise that it’s hard to describe all of the commotion inside a busy souk. Gorgeous and Dreamy Marrakech Riads | Wondrous Paths, History of a trend: Turkish kilim rugs and the meaning behind the symbols, Famous artist homes you can visit in Spain, Traveling in the time of coronavirus (hint: don’t), Japan’s “soul food”: a simple guide to Osaka street food. While not dangerous, it’s a lot more common for younger males to make a friendly offer to take you to where you want to go. Souk de Bijouters is the jewelry souk, marked by a sign that says Bijouterie Tegmoutiene. For services such as guides and cabs, try to agree to a price beforehand and stick to it. Full of carpets, brass goods, antiques, spices, and leather, the souks are absolutely a must-add to any bucket list. ‘The souks, or markets, are a central part of life in Morocco.’ ‘Hidden from view, its famous covered souks, markets, thread like capillaries for a reputed 30 km.’ ‘Every major Hollywood release is pirated onto VCDs and DVDs and sold in souks and bazaars from Tajikistan to Taipei.’ I wrote a guide with a map to the souks if you are interested in trying to navigate […]. Unless you stay fairly close to the web of streets branching off Djemaa el-Fna, it’s very easy to get lost in Marrakech’s souks. Located at the centre of ancient commerce networks, goods found their way to Marrakech from all over Morocco, surrounding African countries and farther afield. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. As a rule of thumb, always be prepared to haggle. Map courtesy of http://www.yourmarrakechguide.com (Link in Japanese). At the time of writing (March of 2018) the … Many travelers tend to associate “souk” with the winding alleyways of the expansive and historic medinas in Fes and Marrakesh. A Moroccan souk is one of those “must-see ” in Morocco experiences and the souks of Marrakech certainly don’t disappoint. Souk el Arba or the Wednesday Market fills the streets with a variety of goods and souvenirs that you cannot resist buying. Merchants will always give you a ridiculous first offer and will expect you to bring it down. Souk des Chaudronniers is the coppersmiths souk. Souk Haddadine is the blacksmithing souk, with craftsmen clanging away. It is easy to spot freshly-dyed leather drying on pavements in Marrakech’s souks. Those who arrived in time typically slept in mosques, or fondouqs – accommodation for merchants and their animals. I wrote all about it in this post. Subscribe to my newsletter for updates on future travel resources & access to a growing library of free travel goods! The country is Green & beautiful and the people are kind. Another option is to look for official signs. Know Before You Go Shopping in Morocco. Never offer a price you are not willing to pay – that’s bad manners! You'll see herbalists, spice sellers, … Based between Washington DC and Morocco Souk & Soul is a brand built around the love for travel and culture by bringing a curated collection of handcrafted home decor, accessories, and fashion by the artisans of Morocco. Keep things light-hearted and friendly while negotiating and, if you can’t settle on a price, it’s OK to walk away. Many are covered too, making it even more difficult to get a good idea of where you are. Ancien Souk Tlat is a marketplace in Morocco. Watch various artisans and craftsmen in their workshops, sewing, hammering, chiselling, sculpting, cutting and applying their skills. Souks are not only markets. You can easily do it yourself, though. When visiting Morocco, one of the most exciting and enjoyable cultural activities is shopping in the souk (market). The huge variety of items on sale in the souks of Marrakech makes some people travel with an empty suitcase, ready to load up with goodies to take home. Cabs in particular will often try to revise the price at the destination, so just pay and leave. I must say Marrakech is a Must-see city. If exploring independently, a map is essential. Local artisans and craftsmen often lived and worked close to others in the same trade. It’s an amazing experience, but it is a working tannery, full of animal hides and fats all over the ground. The smaller neighbourhood souks gradually grew, as more traders saw the opportunity to increase sales. Balgha (Moroccan slippers) are widely available, as are pieces of beautiful silver jewellery, artwork, shisha pipes, accessories, traditional musical instruments, toys, souvenirs and much, much more. Check flights on Kiwi and see if you can snag a cheap one and hop over. Make sure your wallet is in a secure place – not your back pocket! Colourful lamps and lanterns hang from the rafters and surrounding doorways. Souk Kimakhine is where Moroccan and Gnaoua instruments are sold. Artist-scholar with a passion for travel. People sold their wares from or near their workshops. The haggling culture extends back thousands of years – just roll with it! A small open-air souk just outside the main heart of the city, Souk Sehb Mabrouka has a large selection of second-hand clothing and other used goods. Grab a paper map from your accommodation or print one from an online source. Look it up now! I loved exploring the smaller town of Chefchaouen, but wanted to see some of the surrounding areas as well. They are open daily from 9am to 9pm, and we recommend visiting in the morning or evening to avoid the midday blazing heat. Learn how your comment data is processed. Morocco’s Marrakech souks and markets are a marvel to explore – brightly coloured spices, terracotta narrow streets and an aladdin’s cave of street traders, vendors and artists await. Leather goods are often popular with visitors, especially wallets, belts, bags, shoes and other items that are handmade in the city. Your email address will not be published. Another option is to go into a small shop and ask for help. Looking for a few new pieces to add to your wardrobe? Typically they were outside the city centers at places where travelers could stop on their long journeys and the merchants were able to display their merchandise for sale. Head to Marrakech’s tanneries to see how leather is worked before being crafted into the items you see for sale in the souks. Head to the comments and post it up! Souk des Teinturiers isn’t necessarily the best souk for shopping, but has the historical dying center, where wool and fabric can be found drying along the streets. 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