Morocco's cities: Chefchaouen

In the series with Morocco's cities today we focus the spotlight on Chefchaouen.

The houses in this city are light blue, Navy Blue, sky blue, azure blue all kinds of shades of blue, this can only go to one city: Chefchaouen. The city is also called the blue Village. This picturesque mountain village is located in the North of Morocco and is sandwiched by the rugged RIF mountains. The small centre with the picturesque Medina and the magnificent RIF mountains in the background make the city dazzlingly beautiful. The city is known for its variety of locally made products and has about 524,602 inhabitants (2004).

Chefchaouen is a town in the North of Morocco and is situated at an altitude of 557 metres above sea level. Chefchaouen was founded in 1470 by the sjerief Ghomarastammen, led by Moulay Ali ben Rachid. From 1494 looked for Jewish refugees from Granada there accommodation as a result of the Spanish Inquisition. From 1925 to 1927 heard it at the Rif-Republic of Abdel Krim, in 1921 he called an independent Islamic Rif-Republic and he led the resistance against the Spanish occupation.

At that time the city was several times attacked and bombarded by the Spanish army. The Spaniards eventually won and became Chefchaouen in 1927. Thirty years after Spain prevailed over the city, after which it was transferred to Morocco.

Because of the colonization and the location close to the Spanish border, there are still Spanish influences. The houses were around 1930 by their characteristic blue color. The name Chefchaouen refers to the shape of the high mountain tops that protrude above the town and on the horns of an animal. Nowadays, the medina a beautiful melting pot of influences from Morocco and Andalusia.

By far the most striking edifice of Chefchaouen is the old kasbah to the Plaza Uta el-Hammam. The sandstone fort is fully restored, there is now the Etnographic Museum and a gallery with work by local artists. From the lookout towers you have a nice overview over the square and the surrounding mountain peaks.

A little outside the city walls is the Spanish mosque, this is a building that was built during the period of the Spanish occupation. A walk to the Spanish Mosque provides a beautiful panoramic view of the city. From the mosque you have a complete view of the entire city and the surrounding mountains, don't forget your camera for great images.

Talassemtane National Park is a National Park of 589.5 square kilometres. There are about 100 species of birds in this park observed, including endangered species. It has pine forests and nature, a visit to this park is a delight for the eye for nature lovers. Since walking and hiking routes are not always well marked, you can choose to walk with a guide.

About 30 km outside the city in the Valley of Tallembote, are the waterfalls of Akchour. There is a beautiful nature reserve with clear blue water, small rivers and beautiful waterfalls. If you like nature and want to relax, this is an ideal place to visit.

Chefchaouen is surrounded by the green tops of the RIF mountains. From Chefchaouen is it possible in one day to climb the mountain Jebel El Kelaâ. The 1616 mountain Jebel El Kelaâ is the closest to the city centre and this makes for wonderful views. The trip to the top of the Jebel El Kelaâ is heavy, it is a 9 hour trip, so condition and experience is required for this adventure.

The beating heart of Chefchaouen is formed by the beautiful square Plaza Uta el-steam bath that is surrounded by small restaurants and cafes. Here you can start the day with breakfast or your lunch or dinner in one of the restaurants.

Are you looking for a unique addition to your interior or other original stuff than you are in the blue medina. Chefchaouen is known for its wool, in the many shops you can buy beautiful rugs and carpets. Many stores have a Studio or workshop where you can see for yourself how the blankets and rugs are woven, this is an informative and interesting process.

You can also leather bags, accessories, handmade jewelry and countless other products for a reasonable price. Shame on you there especially to things, this is a very normal thing and become frequently used by the locals and tourists.

Chefchaouen has a Mediterranean climate with mild year-round weather and little rain. During the summer months of June, July and August can be very hot in Chefchaouen with temperatures of 30 to 35 degrees. In winter every now and then fall and precipitation is a drop in temperature possible up to 10-15 degrees.

Do you like the warm sun, then you can best go in the summer. Search you prefer cooling then the best time to Chefchaouen to visit in the spring and autumn months.

Chefchaouen does not have its own airport, the nearest airport is in Tangier. The small town has buses and taxis. You can also use a rental car to explore the city.

Morocco has so much beauty and features beautiful spots, more on this next week in the next city!

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