With the wide range of crafts offered, the souks of Marrakech are a real shopping paradise. But prices have to be negotiated hard. Therefore, the Ensemble Artisanal is a good starting point for newbies.
What souvenirs can you buy in Marrakesh and how much do you have to pay for them without being crossed? These are two major questions that a visit to Ensemble Artisanal will answer for you. The state-sponsored complex near the Koutoubia Mosque is a collection of almost all of the crafts represented in Morocco. If you do not have any experience in haggling over prices and are unsure whether the prices in the souks of the medina are reasonable, the Ensemble Artisanal will offer a good orientation.
Within the complex, there are shops and workshops representing the handicrafts. In the Ensemble Artisanal, you will find wood works and carvings, ceramics, jewelry, felts, shoes, fabrics and clothing — primarily cloths/scarfs and djellabas — lamps, carpets, musical instruments, calligraphies, spices, food, oils, fragrance stones and more. Some of the shops are just selling those items, but others also let you watch the craftsmen at work.
Ensemble Artisanal: shopping at fixed prices in relaxing atmosphere
Of course, the small shops in the Ensemble Artisanal don’t offer as much goods as the souks, but you can get an idea of prices and qualities in a relaxed atmosphere without being permanently involved in sales talks. The goods are offered at a fair price, which is about 10 to 20 percent above the prices obtained with some stubborn haggling in the medina, but you do not have to negotiate here. Also, the money goes directly to the sellers and producers, while in the souks of the medina touts will often play a part in the sales as well.
If you buy several items from the same dealer, you can still try to get a discount on the fixed prices.
In the cosy courtyard of the complex there is a small café which offers drinks, cakes and ice cream, as well as hot snacks such as omelette, grilled meat or tagines. Of course there is also a public toilet as well as an ATM, in case you didn’t bring enough cash. Even a small mosque was placed on the area, so that the craftsmen and vendors do not have to leave the complex when the muezzin calls to prayer.
The Ensemble Artisanal offers a good overview of the diversity of the Moroccan arts and crafts and, thanks to the announced fixed prices, provides a good orientation for further shopping adventures in Marrakech. In the souks of the Medina you may find more unusual exhibits, which can be purchased with a lot of effort and endurance at a lower price, but time and negotiation skills will be necessary for that. If on your last day of vacation you still don’t have the right souvenirs, the Ensemble Artisanal will guarantee a short and painless travel shopping experience.
- Monday to Saturday: 9am – 7pm
- Sunday: 9am – 1pm
The ensemble Artisanal is located across from Cyber Park. From Jamaa el Fna it takes about ten minutes to get there: walk towards Koutoubia, turn right and follow Avenue Mohammed V towards the bus station.