Henna Souq


One of the medina's oldest marketplaces and also one of its most pleasant, this souq is dominated by a graceful plane tree amid stalls selling pottery and traditional cosmetics, including henna. This is a good place to come if you'd like to be talked through the fascinating array of natural products Moroccans routinely use – stall-holders are friendly and offer little hassle. The mohtassib (price controller), now defunct, had his office here, and you can still see his large scales.

At the far end of the square is the restored Maristane Sidi Frej, a former psychiatric hospital built by the Merinids in the 13th century. The 15th-century Andalusian scholar and diplomat, Leo Africanus, who wrote A Description of Africa in 1526, worked here as a young man. It is now a small qissaria (covered market).