Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen takes its name from the Berber word for ‘horns’; the town itself was built beneath the Rif Mountains, the peaks of which resemble the horns of a goat.

 

The town originated in 1471 as a haven for Jewish and Muslim exiles from Spain, fleeing the Inquisition. Today, it is one of Morocco’s most famous tourist attractions, due to the fact that its Spanish inspired houses, riads and villas are painted in varying shades of vibrant blue and white, topped with tiled rooftops in bright terracottas.

 

 

We climbed down a steep hillside from the campground at dusk, through a rocky path in the old cemetery. As darkness descended, the lights of the town added an amber glow to the twilight blue of the houses below, and the sounds of the Medina warming up for the evening carried up to the hushed gravestones and made the walk somewhat more comfortable.

 

As a visitor, it is impossible to not get lost in once inside the medina, there are a multitude of possible twists and turns in the narrow alleyways, so many distractions for the eye, and each corner leads you further into a labyrinth of blue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doorways are built in all shapes and sizes,in every possible shade of blue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are cornflower shutters and turquoise steps - there is enough blue here to sail away the senses; a town that is afloat between a perfectly calm sea and cloudless sky.

 

Blue is a holy colour in Judaism, and it was for this reason that the Jewish refugees, who came here in the 1930’s, painted their houses in these beautiful shades of blue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we walk through the medina, the lamps and candles flickering in the window add to the enchanting ambience and the delicious aromas of spice and roasted meats drift along, pulling our noses in every direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, and we pick ‘La Lampe Magique’, decorated like a story from the Arabian nights, with magical lamps hanging from the ceilings of each floor, and a terrace which overlooks the mosque and ancient Kasbah in the square below.

 

We thought the beef with prunes was particularly good, served in a tagine. We also tried the local goat’s cheese in a salad, which is particularly creamy and works well spread thickly on crusty bread and drizzled with the local honey, another speciality.

 

 

Click here to view further pictures in our photo gallery.

 

 

 

 

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