Chefchaouen, Morocco: what to see in the Blue City

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Where is it?

Chefchaouen is a small city located in the Rif Mountains of Northwestern Morocco’s Jebalah Region.  The city is often referred to as “The Blue City” or “The Blue Pearl” due to its copious amount of blue buildings.  Located just two hours from Tangier, a larger port city forty minutes from Spain, Chefchaouen is an ideal stop for those who want to visit Morocco, and experience true architectural beauty.

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Why is everything so blue?!

There are several theories as to why this city is painted various shades of blue.  One theory suggests the color blue keeps mosquitos away.  Another theory says that blue is representative of the sky and heaven, a reminder for its residents to lead a more “spiritual” life.  Lastly, there are theories that claim the buildings were originally white, and that Jewish Refugees who arrived in the 1930’s painted the buildings blue.

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The History of Chefchaouen

The city of Chefchaouen was founded in 1471, as a small fortress which still exists to this day.  This fortress was utilized to fight against the Portuguese invasion of Northern Morocco.  In the 1920’s the Spanish colonized Chefchaouen, along with other areas of Northern Morocco, and  did not return the city until Morocco’s independence in 1956.

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What can I do there?

Aside from sightseeing and photography, Chefchaouen is well known for its outdoor markets, where you can buy stunning pottery, hand-woven rugs and blankets, leather bags, and plenty of other quality items.  There is also a hammam, which is a traditional bathhouse.   You can hike the Cascade d’Akchour, a breathtaking waterfall.  As for food options, there are several restaurants that serve traditional Moroccan dishes such as Tajine and Couscous, and they are delicious!

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Wrote by Isabel Guerriera

 

 

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