Sunday, 15 November 2015


We first went to Chefchaouen 25 years ago and I remember a sleepy little blue town with steps for streets  and the guide proudly telling us that they had a population of 35,000 and water to double that.

If you look very hard on the steeper back streets you can still find that Chefchaouen today but the main square and the area around it are now are continuous strips of cafes, B&Bs and stalls selling ubiquitous tourist crap.I expect in the summer the tourist population is nearly 35,000. Still the traditional houses are attractive. As well as having the blue windows and doors traditional in northern Morocco the Chefchaoueni colour their whitewash with blue so the walls are a paler blue. Add the stepped lanes and a couple of potted plants and the postcard and fridge magnet printers are in business.

Despite the touristic melee of the Outa el Hamman the Kasbah (entrance 10DH) entered from it is a neglected area well restored and preserved by the state agencies based there, with a display of local craft techniques and a most beautiful garden.

It was sowering during our visit, (everyone in Chefchaouen carries an umbrella in autumn), so I stayed in the jail out of the rain and contemplating the planting whilst Beloved went up the tower.

 The view from the tower is, naturally, outstanding. 

The Kasbah was built in 1471 by Moulay Ali Ben Musa Ben Rashid when he founded the town fleeing from the Reconquista. The town was therefore originally populated by indigenous tribesmen but muslims and sephardic jews fleeing Spain.

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