The doors are blue, sidewalks are blue, stairs are blue, it seems like everything is blue, welcome to Chefchaouen, the blue village! Besides being well known for its bright blue buildings, Chefchaouen is full of vast history expanding hundreds of years.
The village might be old but it’s a comfortable place to travel, with delicious restaurants and comfortable accommodations. And if blue is your favorite color, you might as well just move here. Located in the Rif mountains of Morocco, all of the buildings in this village were once white, but as history unfolded so did the colors of the community.
Chefchaouen was originally established way back in 1471, back when Moorish and Jewish refugees came here after fleeing from the Reconquista of Spain. When Hitler’s growing power drove Jews from their homes in the 1930s, many refugees once again fled to safety in Chefchaouen. It was these people that painted the town the vivid shade of blue it is known for today.
In Judaism, blue represents the sky as well as the heavens, reminding everyone to live a life full of spiritual awareness. Back in the late 1400’s Jews that fled to Sfed also painted their homes blue as a source of inspiration.
It’s rumored that the buildings might also be painted blue because it helps to keep away the mosquitoes.
While mosquitoes swarm near water, they actually don’t like clear flowing water, which is exactly what Chefchaouen buildings look like. It’s easier to get confused than you might think, walking down some of the tight blue allies that lead place to place, it can start to feel like you are swimming. When the blue ground becomes wet it seriously starts to look like a wondrous water world.
Until 1948, most of the Jewish families remained living here happily amongst their neighbors, Muslim and native Berber families. But in 1948, most of the Jewish families left for Israel. Despite their absence, the bright blue color remains a staple of the village. In fact, every spring villagers apply a new coat of blue paint. The local government supplies special paintbrushes to assist in efforts to keep Chefchaouen’s history alive.
Colorful Place With Friendly Locals
While blue is clearly the most popular color in town, displays of pink, green, and yellow can also be found throughout the village. No matter what, there is never enough blue around here for the locals. Local women even wear kaftans in shades of electric blue to match their surroundings.
There are approximately 40,000 people that call Chefchaouen home, all of which take pride in keeping the blue buildings looking good, especially the women. Not only do locals enjoy the symbolism behind the blue, but they also say that it helps keep their homes cooler. Tourists are welcomed with open arms, as locals love to show off their amazing village and all that it has to offer.
Some visitors don’t necessarily come for the blue buildings though, lured here instead by the availability of marijuana, or kif, which is grown in the surrounding mountains. Depending on when you visit, day or night, the blue village glows differently, creating an entirely new scene to adore.
If the bright colors of the blue village aren’t enough to draw you in for a visit, the locals are extremely friendly. At the heart of the median is the Main Square; here locals and tourists enjoy an array of delicious restaurants, cafes, shops and easily socialization. Everyone that visits Chefchaouen says the same thing, spending time here makes you want to smile more. With such a light-hearted and happy atmosphere, you’d have to be a Grinch to visit Chefchaouen and leave without wearing a grin!