Chaouen, the blue town

“A peaceful heart is better than a bag full of gold”

(Arabian proverb)

 

 The beautiful city of Chefchaouen, in the western Rif region, settles at the foot of Jebel Tisouka and Jebel Megou mountains 2,000 meters high between which flows the river Oued Lau. The name of the city means "looking at the horns" in reference to these two towering peaks that dominate it.

 Chaouen, the blue town, is one of the most photogenic and pleasant cities to visit for the visitors travelling through northern Morocco. The old Medina reminds us the white villages of southern Spain as the Axarquía region, Las Alpujarras or the villages of Cadiz. One has a curious feeling of arriving to a familiar city which that welcomes us as if we were at home. An Andalusian city painted in all ranges and possible variants of blue, a relaxing microcosm that is a real treat for the senses.

 Chaouen should be savored aimlessly, without haste and without more committment than enjoy it, as the time seems to move here at a different speed. Sitting in the old little cafe of Utta-el-Hamman square to do exactly the same that make their locals, contemplate, unhurried drinking a mint tea and let the murmur of the square wrap us is almost therapeutic (watch video).

 

 City of pilgrims, was founded by Mulay Ben Rachid in 1471, who led the Moorish and Sephardic population that had been expelled from Spain. After the expulsion of Muslims from Andalusia, the city became a replica of Al-Andalus with regard to culture and its architecture. Nazari people expelled from Granada put their effort to reproduce what they left behind. They brought with them deep-rooted traditions and built following a similar model of any Andalusian village. According to tradition the city was built as a replica of Vejer de la Frontera in Cadiz, since, Moulay Ali Ben Rachid had promised to his wife (a Spanish noblewoman who converted to Islam) that the city would look like to her hometown, Vejer and so it was.

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