The most picturesque and fascinating part of Marrakech is surely the old city, the medina, where there is the famous Djemaa el Fnaa, with its labyrinth of roads that bring to different characteristic districts. Djemaa el Fnaa is the vital center and pulsating heart of Marrakech. The plaza confines to north with the district of the souks and to east with the Kasbah, while from southwest there is the mosque of the Kutubiyya.
The origin of this plaza and the origin of its name is still unknown: it could mean “the meeting of the dead one” or her “‘mosque of the nothing”, as “jama” in Arab it means both mosque and meeting. Both the etymologies are reasonable: the plaza belonged to a project that was never concluded (the project foresaw the construction of a great mosque), and, in the past centuries, the plaza was the center of capital executions. The plaza transforms itself during the day: in the morning and in the afternoon is the center of a vast market in the open air, with stands that sell the most varied goods, from the cloths to the dates, from the orange juices to the baskets, to the eggs of ostrich. Besides enchanters of snakes, performers, fortune tellers, acrobats, sellers of water and healers.
In the evening the stands close and banquets with tables and benches are prepared for eating foods cooked at the moment. The plaza is not only a great theater in the open air to surprise the tourists, it is also appreciated by Moroccan as well, who, in the evening come to the plaza to eat in company. The sellers of souvenir for tourists are gathered toward the north side, where the souk begins, frequented both by the Moroccans and by the tourists; the zone of the souk is constituted by markets specialized in a typical handicraft activity: sellers of skins, wool, coppersmiths, jewelers, dyers.