Chefchaouen the bride of the north


Chefchaouen or Chaouen as Moroccans often call it; is situated in the Rif Mountains in northwest Morocco just inland from Tangier and Tetouan. It is the chief town of the province of the same name, and is noted for its buildings in shades of blue.

The city was founded in 1471, as a small fortress, which still exists to this day, by Moulay Ali Ben Moussa Ben Rached El Alami (a descendant of Ibn Machich and Idris I, and through them, of the Islamic prophet Muhammad) to fight the Portuguese invasions of northern Morocco.
Along with the Ghomara tribes of the region, many Moriscos and Jews settled here after the Spanish Reconquista in medieval times. In 1920, the Spanish seized Chefchaouen to form part of Spanish Morocco. Spanish troops imprisoned Abd el-Krim in the kasbah from 1916 to 1917, after he talked with the German consul Dr. Walter Zechlin (1879–1962). (After defeating him with the help of the French, Abd el-Krim was deported to the Reunion in 1926.) Spain returned the city after the independence of Morocco in 1956.
Chefchaouen's blue walls are a popular subject of interest. 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 symbolize the sky and heaven, and serve as a reminder to lead a spiritual life.