You might not be familiar with Chefchaouen’s name, but once you see the town’s stunning blue architecture, you won’t soon forget it. The Moroccan city is well known for its mediaeval walls that are painted in colours that resemble the sky on a summer day. It is nestled against the Rif Mountains. There are a number of hypotheses as to why the walls are this colour. Some contend that it was chosen because blue is supposed to be the colour of heaven, while others claim it was chosen because it was thought to repel mosquitoes. Whatever the cause, the old town’s blue façade along the winding walkways make for picturesque alleyways like the one we’re admiring here.
Handmade textiles and other colourful local goods can be found in markets all over the city. The locals are mostly Berbers, Jews, and Muslims who are known for being friendly and easygoing. They’ve developed a particularly rich local cuisine known for aromatic spices, figs, and olives – in fact, Chefchaouen’s food is just one of the reasons the town was named a “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2010.
In Jewish beliefs, the colour blue is a symbol of the divine, because it’s the colour of the sky and sea. Therefore, it has become a tradition of using blue hues on the walls and blue dye to colour fabrics. Painting the walls blue probably occurred soon after the city was founded in the 15th century. Some people say that the immigrants during the 1930s are more responsible for adding blue colours to the city.
People believe that shades of blue help repel mosquitoes. Mosquitoes prefer to live near bodies of water rather than in them. Because the colours of the town buildings resemble flowing water, they help repel mosquitoes and prevent malaria. – hmm
Some locals say Chefchaouen is blue because blue looks captivating and in Islam blue is described as a colour of happiness and hopefulness.
Regardless of where the tradition of painting the city in blue came from, residents of the city still continue the practice of preserving the unique quality that has been there for centuries.
When in Chefchaouen, be a Moroccan. Don’t ignore the city’s highlights to appreciate a dose of history and modern class.
Medina is referred to as the Old Quarter. Enjoy a wander around the Medina and investigate the amazing narrow valleys. Be amazed at every nook and cranny of this town boasting various shades of blue. Enjoy the distinct ambiance which is harder to find in the cities.
Carousel – Chefchaouen Medina – Bing images
Source:Rehlat. 2022. The story behind the shades of Morocco’s blue pearl city. [ONLINE] Available at: https://inspiration.rehlat.com/en/destinations/africa/the-story-behind-the-shades-of-moroccos-blue-pearl-city/. [Accessed 22 July 2022].
Image 1 Author unknown, U., (2022) The blue medina of Chefchaouen | Chefchaouen, Medina, Morocco. [ONLINE]. Available at: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/98/70/4f/98704f053a03c1eb2f062dc1a72e56af.jpg [Accessed 22 July 2022].
Image 2. Author unknown, U., (2022) Chefchaouen-Medina. [ONLINE]. Available at: https://inspiration.rehlat.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Chefchaouen-Medina.jpg [Accessed 22 July 2022].