Exploration

Explore Morocco's Blue City

This town is awash in blue buildings meant to mirror the sky.

<p>Thinkstock</p><p><br></p>



Chefchaouen in northwest Morocco is famous for its buildings in various shades of blue. The buildings were first painted by Jewish refugees from the Spanish Inquisition who believed the sky-inspired colors brought them closer to God.

Photos: Thinkstock

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The tradition of white-washing and blue rinsing buildings continues and the town is a popular tourist destination.

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Even government buildings, public areas and mosques are painted blue. The town is also known for its varied blue-painted doors.

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The city was established in the 15th century as a fortress against Portuguese incursions.

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About 40,000 people live in the town. European tourists on holiday, particularly from Spain, are frequent visitors and the town has hundreds of hotels.

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Chefchaouen is also a popular shopping destination, where tourists and townspeople haggle over handmade crafts, clothes, rugs and other goods. Other popular shopping items are spices, olives and the town's renowned goat cheese.

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Two mountains rise up like goat's horns over Chefchaouen, which means "the horns." Spain took control of the city in the 1920s until
Moroccan independence in 1956.

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Nestled in the Rif mountains, visitors often take hiking excursions from Chefchaouen into the hills, nearby mountain streams or travel to
the Mediteranean sea.

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