In looking back at 2018 — as Norm who has created a series of posts called Thursday Doors asked bloggers to do this week — we can’t help but post photos of a town in Morocco we put high up on our top spots to see in that colorful country. And the walking tour through the little city of Chefchaouen remains one of our fondest memories of our three-week adventure in Morocco.
Chefchaouen, originally called Chaouen, meaning “peaks,” sits firmly among the peaks of the Rif mountains. In 1975, the town was renamed Chefchaouen (Look at the Peaks). It’s a colorful white-and-blue montage of buildings that can be seen from a pull-out along the highway. And the doors, windows, flat roofs and scrunched-up living quarters make for a memorable view from the road.
A little rock hut with a blue door of its own welcomes you along with the flag of Morocco.
The town, founded in 1471, began to grow quickly with the arrival of Jewish and Muslim refugees from Granada in 1494 who bought up the smallish tile-roofed abodes that lend a Spanish look to Chefchaouen.
But it’s the blue you want to see — sort of a watery wash of blue that pervades the town as if residents bought the color in powder form, used a little too much water, and slung the paint willy-nilly all over the walls and steps and doors.
No one cares much about detail. It’s the blend of sea blue, sky blue, marine blue and baby blue with pure white that sets this town apart. And the doors provide details, varying in form and construction and history, making you wonder why did they select that style, who lives behind them, and what their story is.
Doorways invite you to climb the steps and pose for pictures as we did — often!
But sometimes, we just stood still, watching residents going about their daily chores.
Some doors are almost obscured as goods (mostly for tourists to take home) frame the openings, making you wonder what’s inside. And, as we can attest, if you walk in, you’ll probably walk out with more than you came with!
Just off the town square, Alcazaba, a fortress built in 1471, offers more glimpses into the architecture of this well-preserved building that’s now houses a museum.
Of all the sites we saw in Morocco, the town of Chefchaouen remains one of the most memorable — from its colorful blue walls, steep steps and simple, yet fairly complex doors. “The Blue Pearl,” as it’s called in several guidebooks, is one town you don’t want to miss in this country that seems to have it all.
For more information:
We booked our trip to Chefchaouen and other towns in Morocco through Ortelius Travel. Our agent, Lauren Gunnels, can recommend riads and restaurants — some of which even have blue doors! (We stayed at Lina Riad & Spa and dined at Auberge Dardara Restaurant, at the recommendation of our guide.)
For more Thursday Doors, click here.
For more about Morocco, go to Marvelous Morocco in the bar at the top of this blog.