Explore Morocco's Blue City

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


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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