The “blue town” of Chefchaouen

Usually I try to tie my posts to a topic or theme, or expand my travel observations into an essay. This post isn’t like that. It’s just some photos of a town that’s blue.

Chefchaouen

The town is called Chefchaouen, and it’s in the Rif mountains of northern Morocco.

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Why is it blue? There are various theories…

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One theory is that the blue paint is designed to ward off mosquitoes.

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Or maybe the tradition of painting buildings blue was brought by Jewish immigrants fleeing the Spanish inquisition in the 15th century…

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Or Jewish immigrants fleeing Hitler in the 1930s…

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Nobody seems to know, because until recently, nobody cared about these people, and so nobody asked.

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But nowadays, tourists like me want to see a blue town. And the town’s economy seems heavily dependent on tourism. So perhaps the most accurate answer is: “It’s blue because tourists want it to be blue.”

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2 thoughts on “The “blue town” of Chefchaouen

  1. Love this “economic incentive” – I have friends traveling as we speak in Morocco. I forwarded it to them in case they might visit. Thank you, Andrew, as always for a nice travel piece.

    1. Thanks, Virginia! Tourism is definitely a powerful economic incentive, particularly in relatively poor countries. I wonder if the buildings would still be blue if the tourists didn’t exist. I have a hunch that a lot of them would have been repainted in different colours, or just plain white like the buildings outside the old town 😉

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