For many hundreds of years, the Jemaa el-Fnaa square of Marrakech has played host to a wide range of markets, a plethora of unimaginable spectacles and all forms of entertainment imaginable. Indeed, in the red city today, very little has changed. A short stroll through Marrakech’s central square could involve an encounter with anything from a Berber snake charmer to a boxing match.
This is not an exaggeration. If you journey to the very centre of the square you will find Hassan Kata, a boxing pioneer who has been active in Marrakech since the 1980’s and has become something of a local celebrity in the red city.
Hassan organises a boxing ring of spectators in the square, encouraging volunteers from the crowd to try their hand at the sport, supplying them with boxing gloves and acting as the resident referee whilst rallying the crowds of Jemaa el-Fnaa to get behind the boxers.. Spars only take place after the third daily prayer and last a maximum of fifteen minutes, so viewing this unique event is a case of being in the right place at the right time.
However, Hassan Kata’s boxing matches aren’t exactly comparable to Brad Pitt’s Fight Club. Nobody walks away from the ring injured as Hassan Kata’s matches are not the real thing, but rather a spectacle that celebrates the sport of boxing which which has a long and illustrious history in Morocco.
This is just one example of the many secrets Marrakech has to offer. So, why not explore the ancient central square of Marrakech for yourself through the luxury and convenience of a Hotel Riad in the centre of the red city.