Jemaa el Fna

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Sun, 05/12/2013 - 05:57 -- Gary

Apart from offering a spectacular garden visited by over 700,000 people a year, the Fondation Jardin Majorelle created a Berber Museum two years ago – a must see for visitors to Marrakech. Among its activities, the Museum hosts an annual colloquium focused on Berber culture, adding to Marrakech’s vibrant intellectual life, which is inspired by the city’s rich culture and history.

This year’s event, which took place yesterday at the French Cultural Institute, addressed Berber knowledge and know-how, including its transmission in places like Marrakech’s famed Jemaa el Fna main square. 

One of the speakers, Ouidad Tebbaa, Dean of the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences at Marrakech’s Cadi Ayyad University, reflected on the changes at Jemaa el Fna, especially the remarkable increase in the number of snake charmers, and the sad demise of traditional storytellers – despite the fact that the square was the first oral heritage site recognized by Unesco. The transformation appears to be driven by the increasing popularity of the main square with merchants and tourists, leaving less and less space for cultural expression by and for Moroccans.

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