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Chefchaouen

A Moroccan blue heaven

In Morocco, situated in the Rif Mountains, there is a city whose old town is heavenly and blue. It’s Chefchaouen, or Chaouen, as it is often called by Moroccans. The name refers to the shape of the mountain tops above the town, that look like the two horns — chaoua — of a goat. It seems that its brilliantly blue-rinsed houses and buildings have been introduced to the town by Jewish refugees in 1930, who considered blue to symbolize the sky and heaven and as a reminder to lead a spiritual life.

The color caught on, and now many also believe that the blue walls serve to repel mosquitoes as well, since they they don’t exactly cherish clear and moving water. The city was founded in 1471, as a small fortress which still exists to this day, to fight the Portuguese invasions of northern Morocco.

photo-by-claude-renault

photo-by-olga-osipova

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Of course, Chefchaouen’s blue walls are a popular subject of interest, so there are approximately two hundred hotels catering to the summer influx of European tourists, also because of its proximity to Tangier and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. It’s a popular shopping destination as well, as it offers many native handicrafts that are not available elsewhere in Morocco, such as wool garments and woven blankets.

The goat cheese native to the area is also popular with tourists. The countryside around it has a reputation for being a prolific source of kief. The Chefchaouen region is one of the main producers of cannabis in Morocco. Hashish is subsequently sold all over town, but is mostly the domain of native Chaouenis.

photo-by-niki-atashfaraz

early-morning-photo-by-andy-mumford

photo-by-mario-tome

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