The Zouks of Marrakech

What Is The Souk

The word Souk, souk in Arabic, designates 'a great disorder' and we might think that the term is more than correct to define this zone so effervescent and noisy where nothing seems to follow any rule. However, the souks were always very orderly markets that responded to a social and geographical organization of different corporations of artisans, still valid today after more than eight centuries of existence.
It was first the weavers and leather tanners who settled in and gradually added other activities, each settling in a well-defined area to develop their activity. 
Each corporation had its own precise rules and professional hierarchies; in general, there was a hierarchical scale in which the learner was at the lowest level for some time (sometimes years) to learn the trade. When he was able to make a piece by himself he was judged by his masters or maalems and if he was approved he could settle and trade like the other craftsmen. The maalems were then the ones who transmitted the secrets of the profession, and were led by the amine, chosen from among them to resolve conflicts between artisans or between teachers and apprentices.
We recommend you to take the guided tour of Marrakech to see the typical souk of Marrakech.
La ubicación de cada actividad dependía del valor de la mercancía y de la incomodidad que significara para los vecinos. Así, el zoco de los curtidores de cueros (con sus técnicas ancestrales de tratamiento de las pieles), el taller de los alfareros y el mercado de camellos fueron ubicados al exterior de la medina.The location of each activity depended on the value of the merchandise and the discomfort it would mean for the neighbors. Thus, the souk of the leather tanners (with their ancestral techniques of treatment of the skins), the workshop of the potters and the market of camels were located outside the medina. 
Foods, being cheap and perishable products, occupied the areas of the periphery: olives, eggs, birds, red meats, dates ... Also those linked to rural activities, such as those that made reins and saddles for horses. Nearby was the souk of the carpenters, whose workshops invaded practically the street.


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