You will find the colour blue everywhere; from houses and buildings to roads and street stairways, everything is painted a striking blue. This is not a painting out of a book we are talking about, but the picturesque sights in a small city nestled in the valley amid mountains. This blue-washed city is called Chefchaouen, also known as the Cobalt Blue City.
The beautiful city of Chefchaouen is located in the crescent-shaped topography in the Rif mountains of Northwest Morocco. Houses, walls, doors, windows, waterways, and even the streets that seem to be reflecting the blue of the sky - all of them collectively make for a sheath of blue that’s absolutely breathtaking. Chefchaouen was formed in 1471, and for centuries, remained an unblemished, sacred place that did not let tourists in. However, soon as the world started to take notice of this gorgeous location wrapped up in a blue mystery with its own unique stories, it popped up on the tourist map in no time. And now, the tide of tourists lashing against the shores of Chefchaouen is getting stronger by the year.
How so blue?
There are legends and stories behind how the ‘blue’ in the city came to be. The most popular among the stories is the one that involves the people of Jewish faith residing in Chefchaouen. Legend has it that when Jews migrated to this small city in Morocco fearing death at the hands of Hitler, they wanted to rearrange things according to their faith; blue represents heaven for them. There are also stories of how the colour helps to chase mosquitoes away. Some also say that the city was painted blue as part of the its beautification process.
Whatever the legend be, Chefchaouen today is an aesthetic wonder. Ambling on the streets of the city awash with colours, one gets the feeling of being transported to a magical land no less! A UNESCO world heritage site, Chefchaouen is a delightful place to visit for sure. Needless to say, the city is as popular among photographers as with the tourists.
The inebriating city
Although one can get happily tipsy while soaking up all the hues of blue around, there is an actual reason for getting inebriated in this very city. Cannabis cultivation is legal in the valley where Chefchaouen is located. In all of Morocco, it’s legal only in this valley. There are lakhs of people whose livelihoods depend on the cannabis cultivation. 40 per cent of the world’s hashish production takes place here. 80 per cent of hashish used across Europe is produced here. Despite the hard realities of the working class, this quaint little city abounds in beauty and opens the doors of heaven for you, spreading a dreamy blue aura around you.