The sparkling souks of Marrakesh teem with the sights, sounds, and smells of North Africa, encapsulating the region’s vivid character and spirit.
The Souks of Marrakesh
The prismatic illumination of glittering trinkets lit the labyrinthine alleys. The mystical melody of the snake charmers’ flute blends with the bustle of people exchanging merchandise. These classical Arab markets are probably one of the most captivating experiences. Wild aromas of argan and unusual spices fill the air; the number of products sold in this market is as varied as it is appetizing. We stop at a pastry stand. The different textures and variety of these sweets are surprising; we try some griwesh and decide to take a box. Sadly, we ate them all, and it didn’t last long. But there’s an infinity of items to buy and carry back home. The souks are full of wonders.
Carpets, silk kaftans, spices, antiques, lanterns, pottery, jewelry, and more. You can find all these fantastic items and much more within the souks in the medina. So, this is a list of everything that I would’ve loved to take back with me with the essence of the Moroccan atmosphere. Make sure to leave some space in your luggage for any of these fine pieces.
The lamps found in the souks of Marrakesh seem like a thousand stars shining through metal. Hundreds of these elegant, elaborated lanterns hang from the doors and rafters of souvenir souks, glistening in the sunlight or lit up at night. Evidently, I’d love to come back with one!
Every corner in the medina is decorated with giant hand-made rugs. The rich tones, abstract shapes, and exquisite fabrics are characteristics that distinguish them as some of the most coveted in the world. Browse through the hundreds of options with patterns handwoven by artisans from the different regions of Morocco.
Drinking tea in Morocco is a unique experience. Commonly, when pouring the tea, the kettle is moved away from the cup and as high as the arm allows. Teapots are as unique as this way of serving it. They are made of silver-silver brass or stainless steel and are engraved with traditional motifs, varied styles, and exquisite details.
These embroidered leather cushions are the best Moroccan souvenir to take home because they can be unstuffed and packed small enough to fit in your luggage. After spending some evenings comfortably on these cushions, you’ll fall in love with them.
Marrakesh glassware is among the best in the world. In particular, the Beldi style, with its unique form and its practical use, is one of the most peculiar. These hand-blown tea glasses are made by skilled artisans and are great for drinking the famous Moroccan mint tea.
From one generation to another and with influences from different regions of Africa, ceramics is one of the most relevant crafts in Morocco. Inspired by art, the detail on these pieces is astonishing. Surely, there is an exquisite diversity in the souks, from crockery, platters, bowls, and cups to tagines and more original products.
Designed and created by artisans all around Morocco, from the Atlas region to the Jbala, each blanket style is an artwork. Colorful or crude tones, they’re made in many different sizes and used as bed cover, throw blanket, or decoration. Then, the personal touch of each blanket makes it a unique piece to treasure.
Another traditional Moroccan souvenir are pointy-toed babouche slippers, which can be found in large quantities in almost all souks. You won’t be low on choices if you go for a high-quality leather pair, a pretty sequin-bedazzled style, or colored slippers. Besides, the artisanal process that goes into making them is really fascinating.
Hundreds of brightly painted tagine pots can be found all around the souks. This traditional cooking vessel is easy to distinguish with its unique form: a conical lid over a broad, shallow base. Specifically, clay tagines are for cooking, giving food an earthy flavor, while the glazed and decorated ones are used only for serving.
These beautiful long tunics with exquisite embroidery are classic Moroccan one-piece garments. Deeply rooted in the culture’s history, the kaftan becomes a timeless piece presented in multiple materials, colors, and qualities. As a result, there’s a wide variety of designs, from casual styles to the most elegant creations.
These handcrafted pieces are usually unique. The magic of the souks is based not only on their artisanal products and their wide range. But also on their captivating atmosphere and the joyous hustle and bustle of their people. Luckily, moments before leaving Marrakesh, I find a small hammered candle holder that wins my heart and is small enough. So it goes with me in my hand luggage to remember my Moroccan days.
A version of this article appears in print, in Issue 0 of Álula Magazine with the headline: “The Souks of Marrakesh.”