I had heard many times that Chefchaouen was a must and see destination, so it was high on my hit list. As mentioned in my previous blog post film student Wassim Ahajjam is from Chefchaouen and kindly found me a house to rent for 3 nights.
Chefchaouen or Chaouen, as it is often called, is a popular tourist destination. The name refers to the shape of the mountain tops above the town, that look like the two horns (chaoua) of a goat. “Chef Chaouen” derives from the Berber word for horns. There are approximately 200 hotels catering to the summer influx of European tourists. One distinction possessed by Chefchaouen is its blue-rinsed houses and buildings. There are several theories as to why the walls were painted blue. One popular theory is that the blue keeps mosquitos away, another is that Jews introduced the blue when they took refuge from Hitler in the 1930s. The blue is said to symbolise the sky and heaven, and serve as a reminder to lead a spiritual life.
Chefchaouen is a popular shopping destination, offering many native handicrafts that are not available elsewhere in Morocco, such as wool garments and woven blankets. The goat cheese native to the area is also popular with tourists. I bought a lovely soft nature towel of pink and some scary looking goat shoes.
Moroccan eyes in Chefchaouen
I visited the old Kasbah in the centre of the town to take photographs and record sound. It was quiet because it was still Ramadan and the call to prayer sounded wonderful whilst I was sat in beautiful quiet courtyard. There’s the tower and the prison and the views of the mountain setting were amazing. Entry is 10 Dirhams.
The surrounding countryside has a reputation for being a prolific source of chief and the region is one of the main producers of cannabis in Morocco. I didn’t part-take in that department just getting high on the place, people and my lovely companion Pauline who I met in Rabat and works at the British Council. She’s always wanted to visit here and had finished work for the summer, so good timing and a brilliant experience.
Journey from Rabat to Chefchaouen in a car is approx 4 hours. Here are some photographs I took along the way.