There are such cities, like a fairy tale – small narrow streets, bright roofs of houses, colorful walls … This city all the time seems to be immersed in a pleasant twilight. There is such a magical atmosphere here, and it seems that Aladdin will peep out from the corner at any minute. It’s all because the city is heavenly in color! Or rather, its walls.
Chefchaouen is a small city in the north-west of Morocco, located on the slopes of the Rif Mountains, between Tangier and Tetouan. It was founded in 1471. The name of the city comes from the interesting form of the top of Mount Rif, resembling the horns of a goat. In a literal translation, Сhef Chaouen means “a look at the horns”.
The city has an interesting feature. Almost all the houses of the old part of the city, the historical part – the medina, are painted in sky-blue and white colors. The orange color of the terracotta roofs, stairs and other decor elements only shades the coldness of the walls. This amazing peculiarity of the city greatly increased its popularity among tourists, thanks to which a huge number of new hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops appeared here. You can roam the streets for hours, enjoying the color palette and the leisurely ambient.
It is said that the tradition of painting the walls in blue was brought here by the Jewish refugees in 1930, for which the blue color symbolized the sky and God (according to Judaism, the blue color is the color of the prayer veil, talita). This color has taken root, and now many of the local residents paint their homes like this, believing that it scares off mosquitoes. The fusion of Spanish and Moorish architecture, playing with all shades of blue, attracts many photographers and travel enthusiasts.
Chefchaouen is a famous and unique medieval city that will give its guests pure mountain air, tranquility and an exceptional fairy-tale atmosphere. The main attractions of the blue city are concentrated on the central square of medina. From the upper terraces of cozy restaurants and cafes you will see a beautiful view of the city with its small narrow streets and houses. In the medina, you can find in the open sale various souvenir products and woolen products of bright colors and drawings (carpets, clothes, etc.); as well as traditional herbs, spices and vegetables. Unlike the other Moroccan cities, Chefchaouen’s medina is very clean (the city has even received a national award for sanitation). It is to be noted that it is very inhabited, that is, it is primarily a residential area.
But for many centuries the city of Chefchaouen was considered a sacred place and was closed to visiting the gentiles. Until 1920, only three foreigners visited it and they entered the city illegally. Since 1920, Chefchaouen was part of the Spanish Morocco, and since 1956 – of an independent state of Morocco.
By the way, Chefchaouen is called the capital of Moroccan hashish, thanks to the numerous cannabis plantations in the area.