If you take a five minute walk from Koutoubia Mosque and Marrakech’s central square (Jemaa El Fnaa) in the direction of the new town of Guillez, you will find the ‘Ensemble Artisanal’.
The Ensemble offers the same wide selection of handcrafted goods that you could hope to find in the Souks, however the prices are at a fixed rate so it’s the ideal destination if you would prefer not to haggle.
The atmosphere inside the complex is relaxed and tranquil and the Ensemble is not only used as a market but also as a space in which to train young apprentices in traditional Moroccan crafts.
There are a colourful selection of items to browse through, from leather jackets to Moroccan rugs and slippers so it’s an ideal way to lose yourself for an afternoon.
Upon my first visit to the Ensemble Artisanal, I discovered a small section of the closed market which specialised in calligraphy where I was able to have my mothers name hand drawn onto parchment. I think it might have been the first time anyone had asked the calligrapher to have the Irish name, ‘Breda’ translated into Arabic which lead to some initial communication difficulties!
But a few smiles and only 20 Dirhams (£1.57) later I was able to take away something unique from morocco to have sent home to the UK.
Overall the Ensemble Artisanal is a unique experience in Marrakech. Ideal for those desiring a change of scenery from the bustling hive of activity that is the souks, or even just for those seeking some respite from the intense Moroccan sun, there is certainly something on offer for all.