Located in the North Western corner of the medina, in the direction of Rue du Fez, stands Bab El Khemis. Bab El Khemis literally translates to “The door of the fifth day”, and in the Islamic calendar, the fifth day is Thursday.
One of just 19 gates which puncture the 19km long ramparts of the ancient medina, Bab El Khemis underwent heavy restoration in 1804. Until this point, it was known as Bab Fes; being the gate which travellers and merchants from the city of Fez would use to access the Marrakech Medina.
Since it’s early restoration, Bab El Khemis has been the entrance to a popular local souk of commerce. The tin covered souk area is almost exclusively artisanal, and houses a host of stores selling traditional carpentry, pottery, upholstery and brass.
Alongside the souk of commerce, is a thriving flea market which is scarcely frequented by tourists and travellers. Be prepared to sift through mountains of strange, second hand items and search across courtyards filled with 1920s telephones, retro metal signs and a wide range of antiques from all around the world. You will likely find yourself wondering how on earth all of these artefacts found their way here, onto this dusty heap!
Some basic Arabic will come in handy here, especially numbers and monetary value. As this is a local market, the traders rarely have a need to speak English or French, but wherever you are from you can expect a hassle-free experience and a small price for some weird but wonderful items. You’re almost guaranteed to walk away with a bargain!
These markets gave Bab El Khemis it’s name, as they used to be strictly on Thursday. Nowadays the markets are open every day, with the exception of Friday when you might find just a couple of traders, or on days when there is heavy rain. Generally, you will be met by a hive of activity with food, clothes, prayer, sports and plenty of cats.
If you’re accustomed to auctions & car-boot sales, they you’re bound to enjoy a visit to Bab El Khemis. You can find the gate using our free Marrakech Travel Guide app.