Chefchaouen the Blue City
Chefchaouen, the Blue City of Morocco
Nestled in the Rif Mountains, in the north west of Morocco, the blue washed buildings of this picturesque city have made it a very popular place to visit. Its history dates back to 1471 as a small fortress; which still exists today, to fight the northern invasions of the Portuguese. After the Spanish Reconquista, many Moriscos and Jews settled there.
You can see the old medina is divided into different neighbourhoods, each one having architecture that reflects its inhabitants. The Andalusian part has street and house names in Spanish and with Moorish windows and doors. There are several stories as to why the houses were painted blue. It was the Jewish inhabitants that started this practice, apparently as the blue deterred mosquitos as it looks like flowing water. Today it is maintained, to a larger extent, as it has made the medina very attractive, a photographers dream.
I absolutely recommend a visit to Chefchaouen, even if you can only squeeze a day trip from Fes or Tanger, soak up the laid back friendly atmosphere, drink in the cool mountain air and meander the ancient cobbled narrow streets with its myriad of blue painted doors and buildings.
Check out the artisan work too, some of which can only be found in this medina, woven blankets and throws are made in tiny workshops, some located in the towers of the medina walls. If you’re into cheese, this is one of the few places in Morocco where you can find delicious local handmade cheeses, neatly wrapped in woven palm leaves. Also, check out the crocheted hats, really funky and colourful, and great value; very useful too as the nights can be pretty chilly.
If you are spending a few days in the area, take a daytrip to Akchour and a guided trek to the waterfalls and God´s Bridge, enjoy a tagine in one of the pop up restaurants and taste the awesome water in the crystal clear pools.