The Jemaa el-Fnaa is the central market place and square of the Old City in Marrakech’s medina quarter.

While the true origin of its name remains unclear, translation of Jemaa means “congregational mosque” and probably refers to a destroyed Almoravid mosque. The Fnaa however derived from “Fana” or “Fina” could mean “death” or “a courtyard / space in front of a building.” Which as you could see would have two very different meanings. Possible translations have included “the mosque or assembly of death,” or “the Mosque at the End of the World.” Marrakech was originally founded by the Almoravids (CE 1070-1072) but fell almost 80 years later to the Almohads in CE 1147. The influence of this city as a political, economic, and cultural centre was felt throughout the western Muslim world, and a likely reason it, and the foreign frequented Café Argana were selected for the April 28, 2011 bombing.

The city like many this old has been repeatedly renovated and extended. From this period there are a great many impressive monuments still standing, making the city a great destination for the amateur archeologist or historian in all of us. Marrakech has been named a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity thanks to the efforts of the active concentration of storytellers, musicians, and performers that call the city home. Back in 2009 when we were there last Nicole approached one of the desert sorcerers who travel up from the south to sell their wares and services in the square, for a charm to help her get more stable employment.

While we were unable to follow the instructions and open the charm to burn the contents upon our return home, I maintain however that our last run of luck on the job front could in part be contributed to his working. We’re hoping when we get back next, that we can find him and thank him for helping Nic’s career turn a corner.