Monday, August 18, 2014

The blue paradise of the medina of Chefchaouen, Morocco

Chefchaouen is a charming little town of about 40,000 people located in north-eastern Morocco near the Mediterranean Sea. Located in the heart of the Moroccan Rif mountains, Chefchaouen is a delight for tourists, not only for its affordable rates, but especially for its old town with its recognizable picturesque houses with whitewashed facades covered with a very distinctive blue. 




Chefchaouen was painted blue by Jewish refugees who lived there during the 1930s, recalling the blue sky and heaven. The beauty of the mountain landscape of Chefchaouen is enhanced by the contrast of bright colors in the medina (old city). It is this beauty and relaxed atmosphere of the city of Chefchaouen is a very attractive place for visitors. The main square of the medina is lined with cafes and filled to the brim with a crowd that mingles easily locals and tourists.



There is another reason why backpackers like Chefchaouen: the availability of drugs. Tourism in Chefchaouen is also driven by the presence of cannabis plantations (legal, one of the only places in Morocco where the cultivation of cannabis is tolerated). During the summer, about 200 hotels cater to the influx of European tourists.


Chefchaouen is also a popular destination because you can buy handicrafts that are found nowhere else in Morocco, such as wool garments and woven blankets. Goat cheese from the area is also popular with tourists.


The city of Chefchaouen was founded in 1471 Located in an inaccessible enclave, it dominated the trade route between Fez and Tetouan and was the basis for limiting the input and influence of the Portuguese (at the time) of Ceuta. During the 15th and 17th centuries, the city prospered and grew considerably with the arrival of the Moors and Jews who were expelled from Spain. In 1920, the Spanish seized Chefchaouen to integrate in the Spanish protectorate. Spain restored the city after the independence of Morocco in 1956.


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