The city of Chefchaouen (Morocco), whose photo can be seen in the article, was founded in 1471 by an emir from Andalusia named Moula Ali-ben-Moussa-ben-Rachid el-Alami. The city was to serve as an outpost in the way of a possible Portuguese invasion. Previously, the site of Chefchaouen, the “blue city” in Morocco, was the site of a small Berber settlement.
After the Granada decree of 1492 signed by the ruling royal couple in Spain, also called the Edict of the Alhambra, all Jews were to be expelled from Spanish territory unless they accepted Christianity. Many of them, as well as Moors-Muslims left the country, moved in large numbers from the province of Andalusia and settled at Chefchaouen. This migration of peoples gave a new impetus to the development of the city. Thanks to the new inhabitants, it was acquiring the appearance peculiar to the Spanish province.
Location, how to get there
Chaouen (Chefchaouen) in Morocco is located on the slopes of the Rif Mountains (Rif). This administrative center of the province of the same name in Morocco is located in the northwestern part of the country. Its geographical coordinates are 35°10′17″N, 5°16′11″W.
Because of the mountainous terrain there is no railway connection. According to tourist reviews, the easiest way to get to Chefchaouen in Morocco is by bus from Casablanca, Tangier, Fez or Rabat (two to five hours). They run daily. The ideal option is to travel by car, but if for some reason it is not available, the bus service in Morocco can be relied on.
The Jews who settled in this small town painted their houses blue, a color they considered divine and reminding the inhabitants of Chefchaouen of heaven and God. Over time, this tradition has become so ingrained that it defines the appearance of the town, making it popular with tourists. In contrast to the walls of tiled red-brown roofs of houses, which on the whole creates a very picturesque picture. There are not too many sights as such in the city, but in fact, the whole city is a big museum exhibit, which you can just wander around, looking at the buildings. It’s especially picturesque in April and May, when it’s flowering time.
This small fortress museum is willingly visited by tourists. The entrance costs only 75 rubles. In the museum you can climb the tower and enjoy views of the city and the Reef Mountains. You can go down into the dungeon-dungeon. There is a small collection of national costumes, but visitors complain that the exposition is only in French and Arabic. The real gem of the museum, according to the tourists, is the garden. Once here at the height of the jasmine blossom,
A walk through the old city is an unforgettable experience. According to tourist reviews, it is the perfect place for bloggers and photographers. Incredible juicy shades of old houses fascinate, make you forget about everything in the world. Almost every house has unique, specially decorated doors.
In Medina, life goes on as usual, the crowd of strolling no one distracted from their work. There are numerous shops and markets, craft shops. Here you can buy souvenirs, such as all kinds of dyes, fine fabrics, carpets, as well as dresses, scarves and jellabas – the traditional Berber clothing, which is a long robe of wool or cotton, with a pointed hood. Near the famous Ras El Maa spring outside the gates of Medina, which feeds the entire city with water, things are still washed, as they were centuries ago. There are mills and arched bridges over the river.
Tourists recommend, if you come to Chefchaouen, to stay for a few days and stay in the Old Town, in one of the many traditional houses, in order to get the spirit of this extraordinary place. It is also an opportunity to take an early morning stroll around the medina without the heat and the crowds of tourists. Coming to Chavin just for one day, however, it is better to do it not on a weekend.
One of the hiking trails leads out of town, to the hill where the Spanish Mosque is located. It got its name because it was built by the Spaniards as a sign of tolerance for the indigenous faith. It was later destroyed by a lightning strike, but has now been restored.
The main mosque of the city is located in the main square of Place Outa el Hammam & Kasbah, but non-Muslims can only admire it from outside. Representatives of other religions are not allowed to enter it.
Hotels and Restaurants
The city has many hotels, mini-hotels, and hostels to suit all tastes. The top five, according to traveler reviews, are Casa Sabila, Casa Perleta, Lina Ryad & Spa, Riad Assilah Chefchaouen, Dar Echchaouen. These places have the best value for money. They have free wi-fi and breakfast included.
Shopping and Entertainment
Shoppers should go straight to the old part of Chefchaouen, where they can visit the local shops. The pride of vendors are woolen carpets and clothes created by local craftsmen. These products are characterized by an abundance of bright colors and patterns that somewhat resemble Mexican and Peruvian motifs. You can also buy furniture, embossed tableware and, of course, souvenirs from local artisans at the market.
If you prefer an active vacation, then you should sign up for a tour of the surrounding mountains. The blue city of Shefshauen is located in a peculiar depression, and on its slopes are found both coniferous forests, shrubs and flower fields. One of the most beautiful places in Chefchaouen is the spring of Ras al-Ma, which feeds the entire town. In the mountains, this spring overflows with small waterfalls which have become a favorite place for tourists. When you come here in April, you can admire the beauty of the flower fields, which contrast with the blue city.
As any other city in Morocco, Chefchaouen has a well-developed infrastructure, so there is no problem with the choice of hotels. You can book a room at the following hotels:
As for restaurants in Chefchaouen, the most popular are Tissemlal o Casa Hassan and Molin’arté, which serve Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine. If you want to enjoy not only the local cuisine but also pizza and grilled meat, Al Moukhtar is the place to go.
A sapphire city under the blue sky and the bright rays of the African sun, Chefchaouen is a dream destination for every tourist who wants to start a trip to Morocco. It is safely nestled in a green valley at the foot of the mountain peaks.
The Great Mosque of Chapuen (The Great Mosque) with its octagonal minaret was built in the 15th century by the son of the first mayor, Sidi Mohammed Alami. It follows the same Andalusian traditions that characterize the entire architecture of the town. Erected in brown and beige stone, it blends harmoniously into the overall blue-blue background. It is forbidden for non-Muslims to visit the shrine.
An Islamic temple erected by the Spanish in 1920 as a sign of reconciliation with the Muslim religion. Never used for its intended purpose, it was almost immediately destroyed by a lightning strike. The snow-white structure can be seen from afar. Everyone, regardless of religion, can climb the minaret and take stunning pictures.
Thalassemtane National Park
The park was founded in 2004 in the Rifa Mountains to protect and preserve spruce forests. On the eighty thousand square meters of the nature reserve there are cedars and pines, oaks, relict olive and date groves, flowering shrubs and cacti. The flora is home to many species of rare birds and endemic reef macaques.
The peaks and plateaus, ravines, canyons, reservoirs dispose to active recreation. We offer routes of varying difficulty and duration.