MOROCCO 2012 - MARRAKECH

The Central Souqs of Marrakech in the Old Medina has existed for centuries, a maze of twisting turning alleyways, walk ways and passages that sprawl out from Djemma el-Fna, its tentacles extending to the outer reaches of the city. It is a place for only the hardiest of hagglers and can be a very draining experience, as you are constantly in a bartering battle with shop keepers who are desperate for your business, and whose goods (some would say junk!) could possibly have been sitting on the shelves for years! From stalls as little as pantries to large open courtyards and historic Fundouks, turned artisan workshops, where traditional artists have been applying their craft for generations, everything imaginable is for sale. You just have to know where to go to find what you\'re looking for.

Historically, the Souqs were divided into sections dedicated to certain crafts, but this seems to have slowly given way to a mishmash of shops selling everything from modern consumer goods to leather shoes, belts and bags, rugs, dried fruits and nuts, meat and fresh produce to jewellery and shinny tea pots that seem to have been sitting on the shelf gathering dust, awaiting their rightful owner for years. And then, who could forget rugs!

You also have to be really on your guard whilst wondering the Souks. Motor bikes whiz in and out seemingly without care and concern for pedestrian safety and its almost an unwritten rule that they have right of way! I like to photograph in the Souqs in the early morning, when you capture the soft rays of light from the early morning sun streaming through the openings in some of the ailing bamboo and tin roofing. Stalls are opening up for another days trade and people are busy preparing for the day ahead and you are able to wonder without the crowds and fully appreciate this remarkable place and piece of history.

 

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