Shopping

Souks (markets) are a major feature of Moroccan life, and among the country’s greatest attractions. They are found everywhere: every town has a souk area, large cities like Fez and Marrakesh have labyrinths of individual souks (each filling a street or square and devoted to one particular craft), and in the countryside there are hundreds of weekly souks, on a different day in each village of the region.

When buying souvenirs in Morocco, it’s worth considering how you are going to get them home, and you shouldn’t take too literally the claims of shopkeepers about their goods, especially if they tell you that something is “very old”.. Thus, we advise you to consult your guide before making intention of purchasing antique souvenirs.

Souk Days

Some villages are named after their market days, so it’s easy to see when they’re held. However, There are very few village markets on Friday (El Jemaa – literally means “the assembly”) when the main prayers are held in mosques), and even in the cities, souks are largely closed on Friday mornings and very subdued for the rest of the day.
Village souks usually begin on the afternoon pre-ceding the souk day, as people travel from across the region, those who live nearer set out early in the morning of the souk day, but the souk itself is often over by noon and people disperse in the afternoon.

Craft traditions

Moroccan craft traditions are very much alive, but finding pieces of real quality is not that easy. For a good price, it’s always worth getting as close to the source of the goods as possible, and steering of tourist centers. Tangier, Casablanca and Agadir, with no workshops of their own, are generally poor bets, for example, while in Fez and Marrakesh have a good range but high prices. In places like Fez and Marrakesh, different parts of the Medina produce specific goods, from furniture to ironwork to sandals to musical instruments. Jewellery and carpets tend to some in from the countryside, where each region-each village even has its own style and its own techniques. A good way to get an idea of standards and quality is to visit craft museums; there are useful ones in Fez, Meknes, Rabat, Agadir and Marrakesh. Yet, we recommend you consulting your guide in advance should you have an interest in visiting such museums, art galleries or cooperatives. Our guides will make sure to lead you to the original quality crafts and goods which are mostly located not in big Souks, but in remote areas of Morocco.

Minerals and Fossils

You’ll see a variety of semiprecious stones on sale throughout Morocco, and in the High Atlas they are often aggressively hawked on roadsides. If you’re lucky enough to be offered genuine amethyst or quartz, prices can be bargained to very tempting levels. Be aware, however, that all that glitters is not necessarily the real thing. Too often, if you wet the stone and rub, you’ll find traces of dye on your fingers. Therefore, you may simply ignore the so often persistent offers of the sellers by the roadsides.

Fossils too are widely sold in Morocco, and can be as beautiful as they are fascinating. The fossil-rich black marble of the Erfoud region, for example, is sold in form of anything from ashtrays to table-tops. But again, things aren’t always what they seem, and a lot of fossils are fact fakes, made of cement. Our guides will, however, reassure that you meet with the true pieces from certified fossil workshops.

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